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.