Absent $600,000, it’s perfectly clear that no qualified contractor in America will risk boycotts, vandalism and physical threats to themselves their families and employees. It’s now time to we rethink this situation before the monuments are destroyed or anybody gets hurt.
New Orleans is known the world over as a place where people “re-invent themselves.” General P.G.T. Beauregard should be left in place with appropriate signage: Civil War General becomes African American rights activist. This iconic piece of public art is worth tens of millions of dollars and would be destroyed by rank amateurs.
Next, Bobby Lee should come down and be moved to Jefferson Davis Parkway, along with other controversial Rebel statues, and the street renamed “Lost Cause Way.” No interpretation will be required as the name says it all. Robert E. Lee Boulevard should be renamed Abraham Lincoln Boulevard.
And finally, as a way to purge ourselves from white supremacists, the Liberty Monument needs to be pounded by sledge hammers, bagged up and put into our systems designed to slow coastal erosion. At least then it was good for something.
In order to avoid court rooms, the city has to simply look away as citizens pay five bucks for five blows against racism. The NAACP can run “the show,” and benefit from the great world- wide PR we’ll generate and whatever cash is raised.
This is New Orleans. Let’s flip a lose-lose debacle into something uniquely ours — innovative, educational and fun. Where else could rubble attract a jazz funeral and a second line?
Nicolas S. Lambert
Marigny writer and activist