July 5, 2020

Monumental Heist

A Story of Race; A Race to the White House

Who Owns the Beauregard Art?

No Documents exist showing the Beauregard Monument Association (BMA) or the Louisiana Division United Daughters of the Confederacy (LDUDC) transferred the PGT Beauregard Statue to the City of New Orleans.

Rather in 1905, City Park issued a letter tendering the land know as Beauregard Circle to the BMA with the location to be determined by the UDC. The UDC has asked for the statue to be returned. City Park refuses to respond.

In 1899 New Orleans, the aging members of the BMA asked the local chapter of the Louisiana Division United Daughters of the Confederacy (LDUDC) to help them raise funds for the creation of the bronze equestrian statue of Louisiana native, Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. Many of these women were the actual daughters of the BMA and took the project on to honor their fathers.

In 2019, following the removal of the Beauregard equestrian statue by unjustifiable demand of then mayor of New Orleans, the LA UDC submitted a formal written request to reclaim the artwork and it’s base.

The request was sent to both New Orleans City leaders and the current Board of New Orleans City Park for the statue, which is housed at the city’s Emergency Maintenance Services (EMS) vehicle repair yard facility and the statue’s base located inside a storage barn at City Park.

Annually on PGT Beauregard’s birthday, which is on Memorial Day weekend, members of the UDC organized and gathered to place a wreath at the PGT Beauregard statue. Since the removal of the statue, signs have been placed annually with PGT Beauregard’s 1873 Desegregation chant: “Equal Rights! One Flag! One Country! One People!”

The Alexander Doyle Statue at Beauregard Circle (1915-2017). Beauregard designed the Louisiana National Guard and served as Adjunct General for 10 years. His design for National Guard operations was copied by other states.

The 1873 Louisiana Unification Movement started by PGT Beauregard.

Beauregard said in an address published in July 1873 in papers including The New Orleans Republican and The Daily Picayune: “I am persuaded that the natural relation between the white and colored people is that of friendship,”

“I am persuaded that their interests are identical; that their destinies in this state, where the two races are equally divided, are linked together; and that there is no prosperity for Louisiana which must not be the result of their cooperation.

“I am equally convinced that the evils anticipated by some men from the practical enforcement of equal rights are mostly imaginary, and that the relation of the races in the exercise of these rights will speedily adjust themselves to the satisfaction of all.”

Some believe Beauregard’s 1873 words were used as template for the 1892 Pledge of Allegiance.
For ten years Beauregard was the Adjunct General of the Louisiana National Guard. The program he designed was implemented in numeorus other states.
When Beauregard died, a noted black creole poet Victor Rillieux wrote and delivered a poem at the memorial. “The Final Tribute!”

Link to interview with Jeff Crouere on Beauregard statue

Link to interview on PGT Beauregard’s life in New Orleans

The Monument could have been placed across the street at Camp Nicholls Veterans Home which was build with private money.

In 1858 Beauregard designed New Orleans drainage system using Bayou Saint John. He lived and died on Esplanade Ave, which became the modern day entrance to the park. He assisted his good friend’s son Victor Anseman in designing the park during the 1880s to 1892.
Beauregard received a patent for his street car design, which is used in San Francisco. During the 1860s and 1870s Beauregard was President of the railroad and public transportation system.
The Camp Nichols Soldiers Home is located across the bayou from City Park and was funded by the UDC . The UDC had a option to place the Beauregard Statue on this land. However City Park was building an new art museum, NOMA, and the Beauregard piece would bring patrons to the park.
Placed at the Soldiers’ Home was the Bayou St. John Submarine. PGT Beauregard was on the team that designed and deployed America’s first submarine to successfully sink a ship. He gave the order to deploy the Hunley submarine.

It is believed a motive for the City Park Improvement Association was the desire for a great piece of art at the newly created Monteleone Gate at Bayou St. John.

Numerous Documents Exist from 1905 to 1908 including the minutes of CPIA, a Tender Letter they wrote to the BMA in 1905, The Dedication Programs of the Land Ceremony, and the Newspaper accounts of the event.

NOCPIA boosts that its detailed minutes are available on-line. The 1905-1908 minutes show a Resolution was passed to ‘Tender for Free’ the land known as Beauregard City and to work with a committee consisting of the UDC to pick the location.

The President of NOCPIA in 1908 Tendered the site for the Monument & Art.

Newspaper reported the Tender of the land by City Park ceremony

In 1908 a Dedication Ceremony was held to Tender the Land to the BMA
The Newspaper reported the tendering of the Land Ceremony, which was held on Beauregard’s 90th birthday. 
The Newspaper referred to it as “A Desirable Site”
Additional dedications confirmed the UDC was the main organizer and raised 60% of the funds for the project.

While City Park has publicly been evasive to questions on ownership of the art, a private email by John Hopper indicates they have known since 2015 that they do not own the art.

Comments to the media are evasive.

In July of 2018, John Hopper the Communication Director of City Park responded that the issue of who owns the Land, Pedestal, Statue, and Time Capsule was a “Complicated Legal and Factual Matter.”

In 2017, the City Attorney of New Orleans filed a legal brief that neither the state of Louisiana nor City Park have ever claimed they owned the art. The brief did not claim the City of New Orleans owned the art either.

In Saint Louis, a similar situation occurred. In April 2015, two months before Mitch Landrieu announced he wanted to remove a monument, Mayor Slayer announced he was going to remove a monument.

However Mayor Slayer was challenged over ownership rights to the monument. The newly elected Mayor settled the situation by agreeing that the UDC owned the monument and would remove it.

In 2015 NOCPIA met with Mitch Landrieu regarding the Beauregard Monument and Park Funding

In June 2015 former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu stated he wanted to remove the statue. However, Landrieu had yet to research ownership of the statue. Like other art in City Park, the statue was on loan.

City Park CEO, Bob Becker and City Park Improvement Association President (NOCPIA) Susan Hess had the annual meeting with the Mayor approaching. On the agenda was the Beauregard Statue. Also on the agenda was having City Park receive funds from the City of New Orleans.

Prior to the meeting, Bob Becker sent a packet to the Mayor’s office which contained the 1999 application by City Park to place the PGT Beauregard statue on the National Historic Register.

The Application has four classifications of ownership. City Park checked off the Ownership of the statue as “Private.” The application also mentioned that the UDC raised 60% of the cost of the statue.

Following the meeting Bob Becker reported to NOCPIA at a public meeting that he had met with the mayor, but omitted any information on the PGT Beauregard Monument and Art.

In 2019 a measure to give City Park approximately $2,000,000 annually was placed on the ballot. A PAC was formed that received donations to promote passage of the tax millage. The measure passed.
Shortly after Mitch Landrieu book was released , Quess advised Mitch Landrieu, that he removed the art “to sell more books.”

NOCPIA Reports Title to Art Never Transferred to City Park

In September 2015, City Park Communications Director John Hopper was interviewed by WRNO radio and admitted that no one had ever transferred title to City Park of the art. New Orleans City Council Member Jason Williams was asked about monument ownership and declined to respond.

In 2015, John Hopper commented on WRNO that City Park could not determined who owned the Circle, the pedestal, the Statue, or the Time Capsule.

From 2015-2020, NOCPIA has been silent on monument ownership.

In 2017, Mitch Landrieu advised NOCPIA President Steve Pettus, that Landrieu was taking the monument.

Charles Marsala began informing NOCPIA in September 2018 of his research on ownership of the PGT Beauregard art.

Link to Video Informing City Park Improvement Association Board of Documents

Walter Isaacson at Newman School saying he fought to keep up the PGT Beauregard Statue

At a book signing at Newman High School ,Walter Isaacson was asked and recorded saying that Beauregard was a noble man and his statue erected for noble reasons.

City Park leases or tenders land to outside enterprises providing services at the park such as Coffee, Dining, or boat rentals. It is plausible that in 1905, the board “Tendered” meaning to give to lease for free to the land known as Beauregard Circle to the BMA.

The NOPIA minutes are on-line.

Link to City Park Board minutes 1891-1924

The Beauregard statue is currently stored in this shed at the City’s EMS Yard.

NOCPIA’s Legal Position and Expenses

NOCPIA’s Legal Position and Expenses

It was discovered that City Park spent over $100,000.00 in legal fees with its contract attorney to research the issue.

In August 2018, we filed Public Records Requests asking for a copy of the file and emails discussing the research. To:Bob Becker,Henry Kinney
‎Aug‎ ‎26 at ‎2‎:‎49‎ ‎PM

Public Records Request 18-1003
Any records collected, or organized, or filed, or in the possession of the City Park Staff regarding the transfer of ownership of the Statue of PGT Beauregard statue to the Park or to the City of New Orleans.
Charles Marsala

We have been denied the documents. Louisiana has a “Sunshine Law” requiring Public Agencies to produce access to documents in 3 Days per the Public’s Right to Know. The reason given was:

Henry Kinney <hkinney@kinneylaw.com>

To:charles marsala

‎Sep‎ ‎25 at ‎1‎:‎38‎ ‎PM

Mr. Marsala,

On behalf of the NOCPIA I respond to your email as follows ( my comments are highlighted.):

NOCPIA does not respond to requests for documents that a staff person may or may not have relied on. That would require a subjective speculative guess.

The NOCPIA board takes its responsibility to adhere to the Louisiana Public Records laws and has done so in the past and will do so in the future.

Henry W. Kinney

Kinney, Ellinghausen & DeShazo

1250 Poydras Street, Suite 2450

New Orleans, Louisiana 70113

504.524.0206 (office)

504.525.6216 (fax)


Six months after a Public Records Request, this email was produced. John Hopper stated on May 23, 2017 that City Park did not own the PGT Beauregard statue.

Other Art on Loan to City Park

City Park signed a 7-page document to display on loan the Chihuly for two years and return it.
The City Park contract with Chihuly is seven pages long. City Park agreed to return the art after two years.

The UDC has contacted City Park, City Hall, and the State of Louisiana and asked to be allowed to pick up its art or be informed as to who has a greater claim to the art than the UDC.

No one has responded.

Research is available at numerous sources. NOPCIA never reported its research to the public.

NOCPIA has not responded to numerous Public Record’s Request, which have been filed to ascertained who City Park thinks owns the art.

Sample of documents discovered.