Monday, January 31, 2011

Moving a New Orleans monument

Doughboys deserve to be remembered.
James R. Schindler of New Orleans makes a good point in a letter in today's Times-Picayune.  He suggests the massive and impressive WWI monument located on Burgundy Street be relocated at the terminus of the new Rampart/St. Claude streetcar line.

While I don't go down Burgundy Street that often, I knew exactly what he was talking about when I read his letter.  While one of the joys of meandering about New Orleans is discovering the memorials tucked away in the neighborhoods, I've always felt (for six or seven months since I discovered it really) that this imposing archway is misplaced in the dense confines of the Bywater.  It deserves some breathing room and it could certainly command the vista of Elysian Fields wide neutral ground.

In his letter, Mr. Schindler suggests that a traffic circle be built at where St. Claude Ave. intersects with Elysian Fields.  I'm not so sure about that proposal.  Something on the scale of Lee Circle would probably involve eminent domain and drive the project over budget.  I also don't know about Mr. Schindler's assertion that it would become the most photographed monument in the city.

Where we do agree is that this monument, supposedly the first permanent memorial for WWI servicemen (and one woman) in the US, deserves more prominence.  What was once known as The War to End All Wars is largely forgotten now since WWII took its place in the popular imagination.  It shaped the modern era in ways we no longer consciously realize.

I would like to add to Mr. Schindler's idea and suggest the statue of the doughboy on Tulane Avenue be also relocated to the Elysian Fields neutral ground, creating a hallowed ground to commemorate those who served in the first total war under modern battlefield conditions.  Along with Louisiana's Civil War Museum and the National WWII Museum, this would be a nice adjunct to how New Orleans honors its veterans .

If you are reading this, Mr. Schindler, let me know what I can do to help.   This is an idea that deserves better than withering away on the editorial page.

1 comment:

Michelle H. said...

The moment you mentioned doughboys, it reminded me of the doughboy statue here in Pgh and the possible plans to move it also.


Information about doughboy statue:

article about moving statue:


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