Charles Didier Dreux Monument, New Orleans

Dreux Monument
Damaged Dreux monument.
George Floyd Protest

Dublin Core

Title

Charles Didier Dreux Monument, New Orleans

Description

Charles Didier Dreux died on July 5, 1861 in Virginia as the first Confederate officer to be killed in the Civil War. He was a prominent figure in New Orleans, having served in the state legislature and as a district attorney. Over thirty thousand people attended his funeral. The monument dedicated to him was unveiled on the 61st anniversary of his death. [1
The first archive photo is the statue of Dreux, a marble bust that reads “His last words were ‘boys steady.’ Nobler braver never lived.” This is a dominant part of U.S history that places Dreux as a bold and courageous officer who was focused on achieving the American dream. This came at the expense of his life. Being the first officer killed in the war intrigues the questions regarding the impact of his death to his soldiers, who looked up to him for evidently positive words and encouragement. 
The second photo was taken one of the many times that this statue was spray-painted, shown here with the nose chiseled off along with a red anarchist symbol. The monument was also vandalized with expletives in June of 2017 and January/May of 2018. Protestors have also placed a white cloth with red x’s over the eyes on the monument and damaged its base.[2] It was toppled by a group of protestors on July 8, 2020.[3] The main reason that some members of the public are relentlessly seeking to vandalize or destroy the monument is the argument that the monument honors a racist past of the U.S rather than condemning racist acts and statements from such figures in history. 
The final photo in this archive was taken at a Black Lives Matter protest in New Orleans in 2020 honoring George Floyd, featuring the activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA. This group (along with other New Orleans activists) has protested the Dreux monument many times and listed it on their website along with other Confederate monuments as a symbol of white supremacy.[4] They discuss how the history of the slave trade and racism in New Orleans are connected to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. This march was of significant importance to rewriting history because the protesters viewed it as a demand for change and a lesson to the government for not taking action against obvious cases of racism in the country over the years. The symbolism of the protests coupled with the additional vandalism that the protesters caused on the monument are viewed as honorary actions to respect all the lives lost in the hands of racist and brutal police officers. People in New Orleans equate Dreux’s life as an officer to the ignorant and malevolent conduct of some police officers.

Creator

Victor Holm and Albert Weiblen

Source

1. Ned Hemard, "Two Fallen Soldiers," New Orleans Nostalgia, New Orleans Bar Association, 2012. https://www.neworleansbar.org/uploads/files/TwoFallenSoldiers.6-6.pdf 
2. Marie Simoneaux, "Statue of Confederate Officer Charles Didier Dreux Vandalized in New Orleans," The Times-Picayune, last modified July 10, 2020. https://www.nola.com/news/crime_police/article_74136d60-dcce-5a07-b0a1-dba1fd3dcf6c.html
3. "2 New Orleans Statues Toppled, 1 Vandalized With Red Paint," The Washington Post, July 10, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2-new-orleans-statues-toppled-1-vandalized-with-red-paint/2020/07/10/6b583964-c2db-11ea-8908-68a2b9eae9e0_story.html
4. http://takeemdownnola.org/why-it-matters
5. https://louisianadigitallibrary.org/islandora/object/state-lwp%3A3503

Date

July 5, 1922

Contributor

Nicole Hallenbeck (2020) , Zach Weisz (2021)

Language

English

Type

Granite Monument

Identifier

HIST 402A Fall 2020

Coverage

New Orleans, Louisiana

Geolocation