“Confederate Domination” Plaque on a Lamp Post at N. Rampart and Bienville

Today was a good day full of productivity and pep talks and copy machines. After a long day in the new office–it’s beautiful–I headed down to the Quarter for a quick burrito before riding to Mid-City for a bicycle meeting. It felt good to get to pedal some distance today. Man, I really missed my bicycle. I was stopped on the neutral ground waiting for a green light to cross N. Rampart on Bienville when I noticed the plaque on the lamp post. Now, I’ve ridden up and down this street a gazillion times, but lamp posts aren’t necessarily something I’m going to stop and notice. I need the light, not the post. I popped the Surly up on the curb to get a closer look. It reads “The Confederate States of America, February 1862, Deo Vindice (‘With God Our Vindicator’).” Below that reads “CONFEDERATE DOMINATION/1861-1865.” Underneath that is the Seal of the City of New Orleans. Whoa. That’s some seriously political public works! I rode on to the gelato place where R. was celebrating her birthday (I am so glad she was born!) and was chatting about it with A. We agreed that it’s kind of crazy how much, if you look a little bit, this city is still celebrating the Confederacy. Jeff Davis Parkway? General Beauregard statue (apparently sponsored by community fundraising)? I’ve been noticing a lot of this stuff lately. And now this. Now, you could easily live in New Orleans for a really long time and never notice this particular decorative detail. But then you do. And then you do a little research, and you realize lamp posts have a varied history, the site of oral traditions where stories were exchanged and politics were made, and also where people who were lynched were hung. Lamp posts only seem neutral insofar as they fade into the background. But they’ve got a history, like everything. We best be paying attention to what we’re supposed to just go ahead and take for granted.

4 thoughts on ““Confederate Domination” Plaque on a Lamp Post at N. Rampart and Bienville

  1. If you check the lamp post more closely I think you will find a plaque on each side of the post. One for the USA, one for France, and one for Spain. These represent the counties that have dominated New Orleans.

    • That’s so interesting that the CSA has the same national standing as those other three! A good lesson in looking all the way around the lamp post.

  2. So now you will have to find the quietly relocated Liberty Monument that commemorates the White League uprising and find out where Frenchman Street got its name. There’s a lot of history here, both good and bad. If you find a place where it’s all good, you’d best be suspicious!

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