Report from Louisiana: Arlene Barnum Assaulted While Defending Jefferson Davis Monument in NOLA

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Report from Louisiana: Arlene Barnum Assaulted While Defending Jefferson Davis Monument in NOLA

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – Arlene Bar­num is a 63-​year old Army vet­eran, a black woman, and is on the front lines in New Orleans stand­ing guard at the Jef­fer­son Davis monument.

Arlene lives in Sulpher, Okla­homa but had been in north Louisiana in the small com­mu­nity of Keachi in DeS­oto parish to attend an annual Con­fed­er­ate memo­r­ial ser­vice where her ances­tors who fought for the Con­fed­er­acy are buried. Arlene attends the cer­e­mony every year and main­tains her family’s graves there. She was raised in north Louisiana and takes great pride in her Con­fed­er­ate ancestry.

The day after the memo­r­ial ser­vice Mitch Lan­drieu removed one of the four tar­geted Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments in New Orleans in the dead of night, using fire­fight­ers work­ing under­cover, behind masks and flak jack­ets. Arlene decided to drive to NOLA rather than return to Okla­homa and there she has been, stand­ing guard every night at the feet of Jef­fer­son Davis. There has been a grow­ing crowd around her each night of fel­low sup­port­ers, most of them with the var­i­ous flags of the Con­fed­er­acy, includ­ing the much maligned bat­tle flag.

No stranger to racial vio­lence, Arlene live streams her vigil every night. She has now posted hours of video on Face­book. She doesn’t engage those that attempt to chal­lenge her or debate her right to defend the mon­u­ment. “They don’t care about edu­ca­tion,” she says. “They come up to me and ask me to tell them about the Con­fed­er­acy, I tell them to look it up. They don’t care what I have to say.” She just wants to stand guard peacefully.

Yet Sat­ur­day night things got heated. Sat­ur­day night a mil­len­nial lib­eral assaulted Arlene, hurl­ing racial insults at her and then swat­ting Arlene’s phone to the ground. It was all cap­tured on video. Arlene has filed a police report and obvi­ously there are excel­lent pic­tures of the woman, but will she be found? Will the police even look for her?

Also on video from Sat­ur­day night are New Orleans police offi­cers called to the scene who said they have been told to “stand down” by the mayor’s office. They are not to enforce peace at these demon­stra­tions that are now rip­ping New Orleans apart. They are not to act. While Arlene Bar­num did insist they make a report on her assault, it is doubt­ful much will come of it.

Mayor Lan­drieu has come under fire in the past few days by the firefighter’s union who object to his using fire­fight­ers to do his dirty work.

The bot­tom line is with these Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, it’s not really some­thing we deal with as fire­fight­ers,” New Orleans Fire Fight­ers Asso­ci­a­tions Pres­i­dent Nick Fel­ton said, address­ing reporters after almost an hour inside City Hall speak­ing with Landrieu’s team. “We should not be in riot gear. We should not be doing police-​type work and we are absolutely con­cerned, you know, that that type of thing is going on.”

Mem­bers of the New Orleans Fire Depart­ment gath­ered for a rally Sat­ur­day and announced a vote of no con­fi­dence in their fire chief.

Dur­ing the lengthy lit­i­ga­tion as the mon­u­ment issue made its way through the court sys­tem, all the way to the 5th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals, Lan­drieu assured the courts that mon­u­ment removal would be done safely by con­trac­tors trained in mon­u­ment removal. Obvi­ously this was not the case.

Lan­drieu had only one con­trac­tor sub­mit a bid to remove the mon­u­ments and it was far and above the money he had col­lected “from pri­vate dona­tions” to fund removal, so appar­ently he decided to use city resources. He is now using a pri­vate non-​profit group (exempt from pub­lic scrutiny) to fund removal.

Landrieu’s deci­sion to have police offi­cers stand down is a clear attempt to fur­ther his cause to remove these mon­u­ments to his­tory. He has stated that the mon­u­ments are “nui­sances” and con­tribute to the racial divide in the city. If there are now protests, vio­lence, and assaults of 63-​year old women, this serves to sup­port his posi­tion. Arlene Bar­num is smart enough to know that engag­ing the oppos­ing side only sup­ports Lan­drieu and pro­vokes more heated con­fronta­tions and she has tried to protest qui­etly and with­out conflict.

Mon­u­ment sup­port­ers stand­ing guard at the P.G.T. Beau­re­gard mon­u­ment have been assaulted with paint­ball guns, had bot­tles and rocks thrown at them, and endure a bar­rage of ver­bal insults. Still the police stand down. Like Arlene Bar­num, Andrew Dun­comb, (aka The Black Rebel), streams live on Face­book from his posi­tion at Beau­re­gard. Dun­comb is less ret­i­cent than Arlene Bar­num in ver­bal engage­ment and things at Beau­re­gard have been heated as well.

It seems at this point Mayor Lan­drieu has been suc­cess­ful in remov­ing one of his four tar­geted mon­u­ments, cre­ated a ter­ri­ble racial divide in an already trou­bled city, com­pro­mised the posi­tion of the New Orleans Fire Depart­ment, and prob­a­bly bro­ken a few laws in hav­ing them remove Lib­erty Place mon­u­ment, and he has cre­ated an ocean of ill will.

The inten­sity esca­lates and we can only wait to see what the com­ing days will bring. We can only hope that there are no more phys­i­cal attacks on peo­ple like Arlene Bar­num who are peace­fully exe­cut­ing their rights to free speech.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport

Pre­vi­ous Posts at DaT­e­chGuy blog:
Mitch Lan­drieu Begins his Plan to Erase His­tory in NOLA (4÷24÷17)
Mayor Landrieu’s Plans to Remove Mon­u­ments in the Dead of Night Exposed (4÷17÷2017)
The Slip­pery Slope is Now Open (3÷27÷17)
A Dis­ap­point­ing Rul­ing from the 5th Cir­cuit (3÷13÷17)
Still Fight­ing the Civil War (2÷5÷17)
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Solu­tion to 172 Mur­ders: Equity Cir­cles (12÷26÷16)
Removal of His­toric Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ments in New Orleans Thwarted — For Now (12÷21÷2015)
Report from Louisiana: Update on the Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ment Removal Con­tro­versy (1÷18÷2016)
The Lives of My Ances­tors Mat­tered Too (2÷1÷2016)
The Ongo­ing Bat­tle of the Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ments: An Update (4÷18÷2016)
Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ments and Unin­tended Con­se­quences (6÷27÷16)
Report from Louisiana: Revi­sion­ist His­tory and Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ments (9÷19÷2016)
Report from Louisiana: Mass Shoot­ing in New Orleans While Lan­drieu Fid­dles (11÷28÷2016)


Pre­vi­ous Posts on And So it Goes in Shreveport:

List of Offen­sive Mon­u­ments, Streets, Names in NOLA …is Puz­zling (4÷23÷17)
Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ment Removal Sched­uled for 1:00 a.m. Mon­day (4÷22÷17)
The Con­fed­er­ate Bat­tle Flag Rises Again in South Car­olina (2÷6÷17)
Can the Vio­lence in NOLA be Alle­vi­ated with Equity Cir­cles? (12÷26÷16)
Shreve­port Work of Art Still Needs Fund­ing for Restora­tion (10÷22÷16)
Can You Help Clio? Restora­tion Fundraiser is Now Under­way (9÷5÷16)
Epper­son Demands UDC Remove Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ment Within the Year (7÷6÷16)
Epperson’s Con­tin­ued Attack on the Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ment (6÷22÷16)
Report from the Caddo Com­mis­sion Meet­ing in Which Ken Epper­son Blasts “Jake-​Leg Blog­gers” (6÷9÷16)
Caddo Parish Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ment Under Attack (5÷19÷16)
Joseph Welsh Texada’s Life Mat­tered Too (1÷31÷16)
The Heart­break­ing Removal of the New Orleans Con­fed­er­ate Mon­u­ments (1÷17÷16)

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Arlene Barnum is a 63-year old Army veteran, a black woman, and is on the front lines in New Orleans standing guard at the Jefferson Davis monument.

Arlene lives in Sulpher, Oklahoma but had been in north Louisiana in the small community of Keachi in DeSoto parish to attend an annual Confederate memorial service where her ancestors who fought for the Confederacy are buried. Arlene attends the ceremony every year and maintains her family’s graves there. She was raised in north Louisiana and takes great pride in her Confederate ancestry.

The day after the memorial service Mitch Landrieu removed one of the four targeted Confederate monuments in New Orleans in the dead of night, using firefighters working undercover, behind masks and flak jackets.  Arlene decided to drive to NOLA rather than return to Oklahoma and there she has been, standing guard every night at the feet of Jefferson Davis.  There has been a growing crowd around her each night of fellow supporters, most of them with the various flags of the Confederacy, including the much maligned battle flag.

No stranger to racial violence, Arlene live streams her vigil every night. She has now posted hours of video on Facebook. She doesn’t engage those that attempt to challenge her or debate her right to defend the monument.  “They don’t care about education,” she says. “They come up to me and ask me to tell them about the Confederacy, I tell them to look it up. They don’t care what I have to say.” She just wants to stand guard peacefully.

Yet Saturday night things got heated. Saturday night a millennial liberal assaulted Arlene, hurling racial insults at her and then swatting Arlene’s phone to the ground. It was all captured on video. Arlene has filed a police report and obviously there are excellent pictures of the woman, but will she be found? Will the police even look for her?

Also on video from Saturday night are New Orleans police officers called to the scene who said they have been told to “stand down” by the mayor’s office. They are not to enforce peace at these demonstrations that are now ripping New Orleans apart. They are not to act. While Arlene Barnum did insist they make a report on her assault, it is doubtful much will come of it.

Mayor Landrieu has come under fire in the past few days by the firefighter’s union who object to his using firefighters to do his dirty work.

“The bottom line is with these Confederate monuments, it’s not really something we deal with as firefighters,” New Orleans Fire Fighters Associations President Nick Felton said, addressing reporters after almost an hour inside City Hall speaking with Landrieu’s team. “We should not be in riot gear. We should not be doing police-type work and we are absolutely concerned, you know, that that type of thing is going on.”

Members of the New Orleans Fire Department gathered for a rally Saturday and announced a vote of no confidence in their fire chief.

During the lengthy litigation as the monument issue made its way through the court system, all the way to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Landrieu assured the courts that monument removal would be done safely by contractors trained in monument removal. Obviously this was not the case.

Landrieu had only one contractor submit a bid to remove the monuments and it was far and above the money he had collected “from private donations” to fund removal, so apparently he decided to use city resources.  He is now using a private non-profit group (exempt from public scrutiny) to fund removal.

Landrieu’s decision to have police officers stand down is a clear attempt to further his cause to remove these monuments to history. He has stated that the monuments are “nuisances” and contribute to the racial divide in the city. If there are now protests, violence, and assaults of 63-year old women, this serves to support his position. Arlene Barnum is smart enough to know that engaging the opposing side only supports Landrieu and provokes more heated confrontations and she has tried to protest quietly and without conflict.

Monument supporters standing guard at the P.G.T. Beauregard monument have been assaulted with paintball guns, had bottles and rocks thrown at them, and endure a barrage of verbal insults. Still the police stand down.  Like Arlene Barnum, Andrew Duncomb, (aka The Black Rebel), streams live on Facebook from his position at Beauregard. Duncomb is less reticent than Arlene Barnum in verbal engagement and things at Beauregard have been heated as well.

It seems at this point Mayor Landrieu has been successful in removing one of his four targeted monuments, created a terrible racial divide in an already troubled city, compromised the position of the New Orleans Fire Department, and probably broken a few laws in having them remove Liberty Place monument, and he has created an ocean of ill will.

The intensity escalates and we can only wait to see what the coming days will bring. We can only hope that there are no more physical attacks on people like Arlene Barnum who are peacefully executing their rights to free speech.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport

Previous Posts at DaTechGuy blog:
Mitch Landrieu Begins his Plan to Erase History in NOLA (4/24/17)
Mayor Landrieu’s Plans to Remove Monuments in the Dead of Night Exposed (4/17/2017)
The Slippery Slope is Now Open (3/27/17)
A Disappointing Ruling from the 5th Circuit (3/13/17)
Still Fighting the Civil War (2/5/17)
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Solution to 172 Murders: Equity Circles (12/26/16)
Removal of Historic Confederate Monuments in New Orleans Thwarted — For Now (12/21/2015)
Report from Louisiana: Update on the Confederate Monument Removal Controversy (1/18/2016)
The Lives of My Ancestors Mattered Too (2/1/2016)
The Ongoing Battle of the Confederate Monuments: An Update (4/18/2016)
Confederate Monuments and Unintended Consequences (6/27/16)
Report from Louisiana: Revisionist History and Confederate Monuments (9/19/2016)
Report from Louisiana: Mass Shooting in New Orleans While Landrieu Fiddles (11/28/2016)


Previous Posts on And So it Goes in Shreveport:

List of Offensive Monuments, Streets, Names in NOLA …is Puzzling (4/23/17)
Confederate Monument Removal Scheduled for 1:00 a.m. Monday (4/22/17)
The Confederate Battle Flag Rises Again in South Carolina (2/6/17)
Can the Violence in NOLA be Alleviated with Equity Circles? (12/26/16)
Shreveport Work of Art Still Needs Funding for Restoration (10/22/16)
Can You Help Clio? Restoration Fundraiser is Now Underway (9/5/16)
Epperson Demands UDC Remove Confederate Monument Within the Year (7/6/16)
Epperson’s Continued Attack on the Confederate Monument (6/22/16)
Report from the Caddo Commission Meeting in Which Ken Epperson Blasts “Jake-Leg Bloggers” (6/9/16)
Caddo Parish Confederate Monument Under Attack (5/19/16)
Joseph Welsh Texada’s Life Mattered Too (1/31/16)
The Heartbreaking Removal of the New Orleans Confederate Monuments (1/17/16)