The Louisiana Senate, by refusing to support HB200, Audubon Bridge name-change initiative, has slapped in the face every U.S. Marine and all other veterans who have ever served or fought for this country, as well as the parishes of Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana, whose residents were in favor of the name change!

It has covered itself with shame in this matter.

John James Audubon was a Frenchman from Haiti who spent less than four months and painted only 35 of his 435 pictures in the Felicianas while he was here. He already has quite a few things in his name in this state, e.g., Audubon Zoo, Audubon Park etc.

Gens. John A. Lejeune and Robert H. Barrow were two native sons of Louisiana who spent their lives defending this country.

Gen. Lejeune is the only U.S. Marine to have commanded a U.S. Army Division in combat — the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division in World War I. His ‘birthday’ letter written to the Corps in 1920 on the occasion of the Marine Corps birthday is still, to this day, read again every year at every Marine Corps birthday celebration throughout the world!

Gen. Barrow fought in World War II, at Chosin Reservoir in Korea and was 9th Marines commander in Vietnam. He is the only commandant of the Marine Corps not buried at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. He is buried in his home cemetery in St. Francisville, as he desired and requested.

As of 10-15 years ago, Louisiana was the only state in the Union to have had two commandants of the Marine Corps — Gens. Lejeune and Barrow. That may have changed recently, but does it in any way reduce the luster of such an honor for this state?

This is not to mention the generals lived in the two parishes adjoining the bridge, the odds of which are astronomical!

In response to some comments made in opposition to the name change: In the original planning stages, Gen. Barrow was still alive, so it was not appropriate at the time to suggest a name change. The $300,000 already spent was on T-shirts and other things of that nature given to schoolchildren. None of it was directly related to the building of the bridge.

If you know anything about U.S. Marines and their loyalty and devotion to the Corps, you would know there would be far more new tourism generated by the name change from Marines who would come here to drive over the bridge than there will be by bird-watchers. There won’t be more bird-watchers coming, but there would be more Marines!

One other thing about Marines, we have long memories and we vote. We’ll be back!

D.J. Garidel Jr.

internal audit director

Baton Rouge