One of the famous lines of George Orwell's book "1984" is:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Orwell has been quoted frequently in New Orleans after a December 6-1 vote by the City Council to approve Mayor Landrieu's request to remove four monuments to men and veterans honored for lifetime efforts and achievements. Additional monuments are to be evaluated.
After four non-profits joined together to file a lawsuit to stop the removal, the Mayor's office admitted in January during a court hearing it was in private discussions with a museum to display the priceless monuments.
Most New Orleans' residents assume the museum referenced is part of a slave museum program begun by Louisiana Attorney John Cummings who remodeled Whitney Plantation as a Slavery Museum, which opened on Dec 2014 outside New Orleans.
In Mimi Read's article published in the New Orleans Advocate, she wrote: "Cummings said he plans to keep expanding the museum’s offerings and might even open a second facility."
In the Fall of 2015, Mayor Landrieu announced he had a private donor with $170,000.00 to cover the cost to remove the four monuments.
Cummings said that Robert E. Statue does not belong on an eighty-foot pedestal since he fought for slavery. Robert E. Lee, whose is the "Lee" of Washington and Lee University has been honored by Congress, and numerous building dedicated for his character.
In 1856 Lee wrote to his wife on the evils of slavery. "....In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country."
As President of Washington University, which added Lee's name, Lee argued and won over Congress that the defeated Confederate Soldiers should be allowed to vote. However Congress placed many other hardship laws and taxes on the defeated Confederates, which lead to bankruptcy for many.
In 1874, a rebellion happened in New Orleans against the Governor and Lt. Governor, more than twenty died in the fighting. Eleven were police officers, who died defending an African-American Lt. Gov. C.C. Antoine.
Later a marker was added and written: "A Lesson of the Past that Should Teach Lessons for the Future."
Forward to Iraq 2007-2014. The US toppled Saddam's Sunni Party #Government, and Shites took power and sought revenge on the defeated Sunni. Years later ISIS emerged from senior figures once part of Saddam Hussein's #Military. The lessons of the US Civil #War Reconstruction Past were not learned for Iraq.
That marker with its message is to be sent to a warehouse before possibly heading to a museum via private negotiations.
Two other Monuments face the same Re-purposing.
PGT Beauregard, designed and supervised much of New Orleans Railroads and Streetcar lines. He invented a system of cable-powered railway cars. He served as supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery and Adjutant General of the Louisiana State Militia. Beauregard organized 100 bi-racial families in New Orleans to unify the school district.
Jefferson Davis and his brother put in a program for slaves to accumulate wealth, education, and management skills on their Hurricane Plantation in the 1850s. Benjamin Montgomery, a slave, excelled in purchasing, shipping, and facilities. Montgomery designed a water propeller and sought a Patten. The Davis's sold and financed the purchase of the plantation to Montgomery.
However Lee, Beauregard, and Davis have been described as murderers.
New Orleans has learned George Orwell.