Report From Louisiana: The Slippery Slope is Now Open!

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Report From Louisiana: The Slippery Slope is Now Open!

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – Hello, slip­pery slope. It didn’t take long for you to appear.

I’ve always noted that once the green light was given by the 5th Cir­cuit to remove the New Orleans mon­u­ments that the slip­pery slope of fur­ther changes would break open. And so it has.

Read the list of names that activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA wants changed because they cel­e­brate white supremacy.

One is Touro Hospital.

Touro Hos­pi­tal is named for Judah Touro, who was the son of Jew­ish immi­grants and was born in Rhode Island. Touro fought in the Bat­tle of 1812 and later worked in ship­ping, trade, and real estate. He lived a sim­ple life and donated a lot of money across the coun­try. In New Orleans one of his char­i­ta­ble works was to estab­lish what would become Touro Hos­pi­tal – the largest char­ity hos­pi­tal in Louisiana.

But that’s racist, so it must go.

Tulane Uni­ver­sity must appar­ently change its name as well.

Why? Because founder Paul Tulane donated large sums of money to the Con­fed­er­ate States of America.

Never mind that he gave large char­i­ta­ble dona­tions to char­i­ties through­out New Orleans and that he worked to raise the qual­ity of higher edu­ca­tion in the city.

Most of the things on this list are absurd and I’d ven­ture to say that 99.9% of the peo­ple in New Orleans don’t have one idea who Judah Touro was or who Lane Street is named for. In fact, maybe we should quit call­ing the place in the road where one dri­ves a “lane” – per­haps that too is racist.

There is still hope that some of this mad­ness will end. Two upcom­ing bills in the Louisiana Leg­is­la­ture may still pro­tect these mon­u­ments and legacy names; sim­i­lar bills have been suc­cess­ful in nearby states.

Even more bizarre is the fact that Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu, who is the brain­child of this removal project, has no idea what will replace the mon­u­ments that come down nor how any new mon­u­ment or art would be paid for:

This is per­plex­ing because in every other instance when any­one wants to tear down a his­toric site or build­ing, the pro­posed destroyer must have a plan in place for what will be replac­ing the his­toric site and why it is jus­ti­fi­able. A year a and a half later, the City Coun­cil has not called a meet­ing to dis­cuss future art­work options. None of the orga­ni­za­tions — His­toric Dis­trict Land­marks Com­mis­sion and Human Rela­tions Com­mis­sion — that rub­ber stamped Landrieu’s cause have called such a meet­ing. Noth­ing is planned. No pub­lic dis­cus­sions held. No artists com­mis­sioned. No money for new mon­u­ments men­tioned. Mitch is the man with­out a plan.

I’m sure Take’Em Down NOLA has some ideas but, well, there’s that slip­pery slope again.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Hello, slippery slope.  It didn’t take long for you to appear.

I’ve always noted that once the green light was given by the 5th Circuit to remove the New Orleans monuments that the slippery slope of further changes would break open. And so it has.

Read the list of names that activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA wants changed because they celebrate white supremacy.

One is Touro Hospital.

Touro Hospital is named for Judah Touro, who was the son of Jewish immigrants and was born in Rhode Island. Touro fought in the Battle of 1812 and later worked in shipping, trade, and real estate. He lived a simple life and donated a lot of money across the country. In New Orleans one of his charitable works was to establish what would become Touro Hospital – the largest charity hospital in Louisiana.

But that’s racist, so it must go.

Tulane University must apparently change its name as well.

Why?  Because founder Paul Tulane donated large sums of money to the Confederate States of America.

Never mind that he gave large charitable donations to charities throughout New Orleans and that he worked to raise the quality of higher education in the city.

Most of the things on this list are absurd and I’d venture to say that 99.9% of the people in New Orleans don’t have one idea who Judah Touro was or who Lane Street is named for.  In fact, maybe we should quit calling the place in the road where one drives a “lane” – perhaps that too is racist.

There is still hope that some of this madness will end.  Two upcoming bills in the Louisiana Legislature may still protect these monuments and legacy names; similar bills have been successful in nearby states.

Even more bizarre is the fact that Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is the brainchild of this removal project, has no idea what will replace the monuments that come down nor how any new monument or art would be paid for:

This is perplexing because in every other instance when anyone wants to tear down a historic site or building, the proposed destroyer must have a plan in place for what will be replacing the historic site and why it is justifiable. A year a and a half later, the City Council has not called a meeting to discuss future artwork options.  None of the organizations—Historic District Landmarks Commission and Human Relations Commission—that rubber stamped Landrieu’s cause have called such a meeting. Nothing is planned.  No public discussions held.  No artists commissioned.  No money for new monuments mentioned.  Mitch is the man without a plan.

I’m sure Take’Em Down NOLA has some ideas but, well, there’s that slippery slope again.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.