For all their talk about history, the committee’s real aim is to use the Lost Cause as a tool of racial resentment, forever. Here’s Miriam ‘Forever Lee Circle‘ Owens making clear her goals for the placement of Lee:
“They like to talk about white flight out of NOLA into Metairie and the surrounding area. I say putting him there [Veterans Blvd.] is basically telling NOLA we left you and your dysfunctionally run city. Now we’ve come back for our favorite Southern General. We’ll take him with us thank you very much!”
In this quote – which was posted after the committee’s plan was made public – Owens puts antecedents to the ‘we’ and ‘our‘ in all the pro-monument rhetoric, tying the statues directly to white fears of integration and institutional discrimination of African-Americans. This is not surprising for someone who considers the monuments “stolen” and that they need to be “recovered.” If she thinks the statues are the rightful property of white people, who does she think stole them? Unable to resist gloating, she gives away her game.
The overt racial angle of Owens continues with her own followers. Here she is recently telling a fan “Amen” to the idea that removing the monuments is “a third world concept” and a sign of “the decline of New Orleans into Detroit.” To her, New Orleans is “a pimple on the butt of Dixie.”
Miriam Owens’ ideas about preservation are similarly blunt. In a moment of heavy-handed metaphor, Miriam Owens edited her own post to change Mayor Cantrell’s mandate for the committee from “honor our heroes in proper context” to just “honor our heroes.” Owens literally cut out “proper context.”
If she gets her way, Owens hopes re-erecting Lee will begin a reactionary wave to blunt future removals – to “stop it in its tracks.”
Other committee members, before the monuments were brought down, specifically argued against exactly what they now want to do. Frank Stewart, in one of his opinion pieces, accidentally makes an important point:
You [the mayor] can re-erect all the personal monuments taken down under your leadership. [But] no matter where you re-erect them, on private or public property, begs the question: Why were they taken down in the first place?
Charles Marsala, when asked about monument contextualization, said:
You’ve declared it a nuisance – it’s a nuisance, period…it’s a nuisance if it’s above twenty feet in the air but it’s not a nuisance at two feet?…” If Lee is a nuisance, he’s a nuisance. If Beauregard’s a nuisance, he’s a nuisance.
Or this take, from July 2017:
For once, Charles, we seem to agree.