Naming Rights

(Disclaimer: The following article is intended as satire.)


By Alex Davis




In the past few weeks, a debate has risen on whether or not to remove the flag of the Confederate States of America or memorials of its leaders from public display. People in favor argue that such symbols represent one of the toughest times in our nation’s history and remind them of the horrors of slavery. Those against removing the flag argue that by destroying these symbols, a key part of our country’s past will have been erased.

Let’s be perfectly clear — the legacy of the Civil War will remain with us for a long time. In the event of all Confederate names and monuments being removed from Louisiana, here are five suggestions I have for name replacements. Not only will these suggestions help us forget a painful time in our nation’s history, they’ll also emphasize what makes Louisiana unique.

1. Jefferson Davis. Seeing as the man was the first and only president of the Confederacy, it makes sense to replace his name first. (DISCLAIMER: Despite our last names, I am not related to Jefferson Davis.) As president, his name survives in the form of a parish, streets, and a statue of him. Instead of remembering a man whose decisions helped split the country in two, we should instead remember a man who made all locals proud to be from New Orleans. Replace all monuments and places named after Jefferson Davis with that of late local legend Frank Davis. Frank Davis served as a TV host on WWL for 30 years, showing locals the joys of fishing and cooking with new recipes until his death in 2011. The man behind “Naturally Nawlins” already has an overpass named after him in Slidell, so giving him a few statues and street names can’t hurt.
2. Robert E. Lee. The Virginia-born leader of the Confederate army originally served the United States but sided with the Confederacy due to his home state pride. His name survives in many parts of the city, most notably Lee Circle in the CBD and Robert E Lee Blvd in Lakeview. Replace him with another Lee— the late Harry Lee, longtime sheriff of Jefferson Parish. Lee was born in New Orleans’ Chinatown and later moved to Jefferson Parish, serving as sheriff for 28 years. Plus, what better way to prove our city is not racist than by having a statue of a Chinese-American local?
3. P.G.T. Beauregard. This local-born military officer became one of the Confederacy’s strongest generals during the war . His legacy survives in the form of a parish and a statue of him on Esplanade Ave. Replace him with the similar-sounding PJ’s Coffee. Why a coffee company and not another military figure? In this day and age where large corporations pay for naming rights of venues and can influence how our elections are run, letting one company — a local one, mind you— having part of the state named after them would be the next logical step.
4. The “Confederate flag.” Government buildings flying the flag in a former Confederate state after the Civil War makes as much sense as them flying a Union Jack in one of the 13 colonies. Replace this flag with one more appropriate to Louisiana history — the flag of Jean Lafitte. This infamous privateer had a reputation as a notorious pirate before serving the French government by helping raid invading ships. Plus, the whole pirate mythos and lifestyle of freedom and adventure serves Louisiana better. Does Disney World have a ride called “Confederates of the Caribbean?”
5. Lastly, if all else fails and we cannot find a suitable local replacement for the Confederate names, simply build statues of Ignatius Riley instead. Why select him instead of another New Orleans literary figure? One — there already exists a statue of him on Canal Street, so making more of them shouldn’t cost too much. Two — the character was created by the late John Kennedy Toole for his book A Confederacy of Dunces. If that doesn’t sum up this entire situation, then what else will?



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