by Max Brantley
Late Thursday afternoon, 72-year-old Lolita Villavasso Cherrie, a Creole woman, walked past Beauregard’s statue and stopped mid-stride. Before her stood James Del Brock, who looked like a time-traveler from the Civil War: a gray beard down to his chest, a Confederate army cap on his head, and on his shoulders several enormous iterations of the rebel flag, which billowed and snapped in the wind.At least one other Arkie rushed to the battlements.
“Where are you from?” Cherrie said. “Arkansas,” he replied.
Cherrie, who is tiny, pointed at him with a single finger. It shook. “You take this bullshit back where you came from,” she said. “We don’t do this in New Orleans.”
She didn’t like Beauregard, she said later, but at least he was local. For Brock and his flags, on the other hand, she felt disgust.
“That flag is a living symbol,” she said. It reminded her of the suffering and fear her family felt even a single generation ago. “It hurts.”
“I will chain myself to that son of a bitch before I let them tear it down,” Wilford Seymour said Thursday, waving a hand toward a statue of General PGT Beauregard mounted in a bronze saddle. “By God I will ride that horse myself.”
Seymour had driven overnight from Arkansas, as soon as he got word that the city of New Orleans was pulling down some of its Confederate monuments.