Our last day in NOLA. "Union, justice and confidence."
I’m living New Orleans slow this morning.
I’m putting off packing as long as possible. Just sitting in a wicker chair on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.
The state flag of Louisiana is hanging from a post, moving in a slight breeze on what is otherwise a warm and slightly humid morning.
I knew nothing about the state flag of Louisiana. The flag is purple with a pelican and the motto, Union, Justice and Confidence.
I Googled the motto and found that it pre-dates the Civil War. Back then it was Justice, Union and Confidence.
During Reconstruction the Union was put first.
Now there is a move to change the motto to We live and die for those we love.
Some are suspicious that this is some sort of reaction to the removal the last couple of years of all the Confederate statues and monuments in the state.
Is the attempt to change the state motto some down low part of the culture wars?
It’s seven years since the murders of nine members of the African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a white supremacist.
It was a horrible event that boosted the movement to remove memorials to the Confederacy that popped up in reaction to the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen sixties.
My small role was as a delegate to that year’s NEA Representative Assembly when I called on all members and my union to work to remove Confederate statues and memorials from public spaces and the names of Confederates from public schools.
My resolution passed following the longest debate in the history of our union’s conventions.
Some things are surprisingly difficult.
On a past visit to this wonderful city, we stayed at a hotel on Lee Circle.
No surprise what Lee they were talking about.
We chose to refer to it as Spike Lee Circle.
The city removed the General from his podium in Lee Circle in 2017.
Last Thursday, the day we arrived, the City Council changed the name of the circle to Harmony Circle.
An earlier City Council debate considered naming the circle after the late Leah Chase of the famous Dooky Chase restaurant or after the great New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint.
That would have been so much cooler.