Scoot: An open letter to Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Your "plans" for the Confederate monuments are a cop out.

March 08, 2018 - 10:54 am

Dear Mitch,

The announcement of your plans for the removed Confederate-era monuments was a great disappointment to me because it confirms our worst fears that you used the removal of the monuments, and in the process the citizens of New Orleans, to advance your national political profile.  The final chapter you have written for your legacy has inspired me to lament about our past.

Many times over the years, I defended your actions in the face of harsh condemnation from the audience.  Regardless of how overwhelming the criticism of you had become, I remained steadfast and defended you based on my perception of your intent. 

Mitch, you will never know how many times I protected you from salacious rumors about your marriage and your personal sex life that listeners wanted me to address on the air.  I refused because I could not verify that they were true.  In the interest of fairness - not ratings - I always gave you the benefit of the doubt - even after I had grown disappointed in your apparent motivation with the monuments.

I remember the times we would run into each other backstage at concerts on New Year’s Eve and during Mardi Gras, and I was always proud to take a picture with you and share it on social media.  I think back on the time I walked with you during a “stop the violence” march.  I gave up time on my Saturday with no expectations of any publicity to show my support for your fight against crime in the city.  Those were the times for which I now lament.

Like you, I have a job to do as a radio talk show host that holds the interest of New Orleans in a sacred place.  My job is to be honest, on behalf of the people of New Orleans, regardless of any sense of bond I have felt toward you as Mayor of New Orleans.  I know you listened to my show because you told me countless times about things I had said and exchanges I had with listeners; and you realized that, in many ways, you and I deal with the same threat of criticism.

Mitch, I didn’t change; you did.  I even supported you on the spirit behind removing the monuments and went against the grain of many of my listeners in support of your decision.  I clearly understood both sides. 

But the moment everything changed was the moment after the final monument was removed and evidence surfaced that at least one of the statues had been placed in a storage yard with other obsolete items.  That changed my attitude about your real motives because it went against your verbal commitment to care for and place the removed monuments in an appropriate location.  Your actions revealed that you really didn’t care about anything other than what the removal of the monuments could do for your national political image.  Essentially, it became obvious to me that you had used the citizens of New Orleans for your personal gain.

A video about my epiphany on your true motives went viral and even attracted a reaction from you.  Your office reached me at home one night to ask why I had been so harsh and, following my explanation, admitted that the way the monuments were handled after their removal was inappropriate and regret was expressed.

Mitch, your actions hurt me as a strong supporter of you and your administration; but most hurtful was the realization that you were a political player more than a mayor of our city.  And your newly announced “plans” for the monuments only re-enforces your true motive - advancing to the national spotlight.  There is nothing wrong with national political aspirations.  In fact, that is admirable, but it is wrong to be insincere about your plans.

For the record, your newly announced “plans” for the monuments are not plans at all.  Your "plans" only a copout and a way to take credit only for the removal of the monuments while throwing the tougher consequences of what to do with them to the new mayor.  Not only is that an act of cowardice, but it only confirms the worst fears that your intent with the monuments was not as honest as you portrayed in the media.

As for the absurd notion that the process of removing the monuments “took much longer and was harder than ever anticipated,” you urged the City Council in 2015 to work on removing the monuments and two years later the final statue was removed from Lee Circle.  There was plenty of time to anticipate the impending controversy.  As a talk show host, I immediately recognized the controversy; and it is difficultly to believe that as mayor you were caught by surprise.

I will continue to protect you from vicious rumors.  However, I am disappointed and I am not alone.  Your role before, during and after the revelations about the Sewage & Water Board further confirmed that you are more acting like a mayor than you are acting as a mayor.  If your goal is national politics at a time when voters are looking for sincerity over BS, how do you think your behind-the-headlines motives will play out on a national stage?  Are you so convinced that you will only get credit for the headlines?

And BTW, Mitch, if you really were interested in following through on your words - how easy would it have been to follow through on placing an American flag on the pedestal Jefferson Davis occupied? 

I remain,


New Orleans, LA

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