New Orleans ‘Ladies’
Whatever your opinion is of the recent acts of the City of New Orleans (the town not the Arlo Guthrie train) of removing historical statuary this isn't the first opinion dividing act construed by the city's residents.
One could make the case that the current statuary should be left in place if for nothing else than to keep Gen. Benjamin Butler a'spinnin in his grave.
It was this week in 1862 that said Gen'l Butler issued Order No. 28 which allowed Union soldiers the right and privilege not to treat New Orleans Ladies, ...as ladies. You see in the end of April of that year, Union forces captured New Orleans away from the Confederacy, and General Butler marched into town with about 8,000 Federal soldiers to occupy the town. As you know in those days New Orleans consisted mainly of what we call the French Quarter.
Now, let's see... how to put this delicately - in those days prostitution was not only legal, it was pretty much regulated (taxes) and overseen by some in the medical profession.
And while the Working Girls of the day welcomed the pocket padding prospect of thousands of new customers - about all they welcomed was the cash. They treated the poor Yankee boys like dirt. Worse than dirt sometimes.
Madams would hook up the boys in blue with women they knew to be diseased, Butler knowing he couldn't control human nature went ahead and ordered that his men stay away from such establishments - and many tried. Have you ever been a young man far far from home and lonely?
Butler tolerated this treatment, but when the ladies of the boulevards began emptying their chamber pots on the soldiers heads as they passed down the streets, Butler had enough... supposedly being splashed once himself. The poor general was far from being a handsome and dashing battlefield hero, he was a shy, stuttering desk jockey trying to do a thankless rear echelon job in enemy territory.
To add insult to injury the ladies nicknamed him 'Beast' not just for his resentment of being the recipient of these golden street showers, but in the age before deodorant and daily baths, Butler had a more than ordinary odoriferous aroma about his person.
A Newspaper Ad Encouraging New Orleans Men to Defend the
Ladies Southern Honor
He issued his infamous Order No. 28 which essentially allowed his gentlemen (in the gilded age of manners) to not treat the ladies with common kindness. It wasn't long before the ladies took their contempt for the Union Army to a new low - and an enterprising woman whose name is lost to history began having a local printer imprint the generals likeness on the bottom of the pots!
This Ain't No Coffee Cup
And so now instead of flinging the waste out of the window at the 'Beast Butler' and his comrades, they could take direct pleasure in their movements covering the hated general completely without risking the Gulf and Mississippi breezes blowing it back onto them on the balcony.
While everyone is up in arms about the removal of the Confederate imagery - recall that the town is rife with a history regarding contemptuous acts against both sides in that bloody war, this too shall pass.