Last month the iconic statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed. This was the last of four confederate era statues to be removed as they were collectively declared a public nuisance. The controversy over the removal of these monuments reflect the true polarized nature of the New Orleanian population. While much of New Orleans takes fierce pride in their Southern traditions and history, others see the confederate monuments as a means of romanticizing men who fought for the preservation slavery, as well as men who committed treason and sedition against the United States.
Regardless of where one stands on these issues the costs of the removal of these monuments where…monumental. The total cost for the project was a staggering 2.1 million dollars. There is no reason why removing these monuments should be so costly and the carless spending towards this project is reflective of the New Orleans government’s inability to effectively allocate its resources. 2.1 million dollars could have been used to hire more workers to accelerate the construction of drainage systems in roads all across New Orleans, some of which have been under construction for more than two years. That money could have been used to hire, pay, and train new officers for NOPD, which is currently understaffed by five hundred officers!
As residents of the city with one of the highest crime rates in the country, and a higher murder rate than Chicago, public safety should be the first recipient of government spending.