HB-71: Louisiana politicians refuse to protect monuments for U.S. veterans


A statue honoring commander Andrew Jackson stands in New Orleans’ Jackson Square. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en Photo credit: Ianaré Sévi

Louisiana’s history is under attack, and elected officials of the state ignored an opportunity to stop the culture cleansing. Movements to deconstruct historical monuments have appeared all over the state, not just in New Orleans, but also in Lafayette, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Shreveport.

A statue honoring commander Andrew Jackson stands in New Orleans’ Jackson Square. Photo by Ianaré Sévi

Heritage protection acts are not abnormal in the United States. Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia all have state protections or agencies. The U.S. government also has a law protecting veteran memorials on federal property.

House Bill 71 proposed to protect memorials and monuments from demolition and parks and streets from having wars’ and military veterans’ names removed. The bill shows much-earned honor and respect to servicemen and women by protecting military veteran memorials; it’s not about racial inequities or preserving a past we have long since advanced from.

The bill, written by Rep. Thomas Carmody, Jr., R-Shreveport, passed in the House of Representatives but died in an unfitting Senate committee. It deserved a fair opportunity in front of the committee and on the Senate floor, but instead, veteran legislation became a victim of Louisiana politics.

The practice of erecting monuments to honor the memory of beloved figures and leaders has been a tradition throughout the history of mankind. Monuments and statues are representations of the past, not the present. To remove them censors the past and erases things that have happened.

Adding more monuments and memorials to both new and forgotten heroes is the best way to truly diversify Louisiana’s landscape. Much more of our history needs to be on display.

But that requires productivity, thinking and building up. Meanwhile, the vocal minority is all about emotions, feelings and anarchy, set on the destructive path of tearing down anything that mentally challenges them.