Jeff Davis: New Orleans' Other Favorite President
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans' statue of Andrew Jackson is its most well-known example of presidential art. But the President who actually spent the most time in New Orleans was Jefferson Davis, the one and only President of the Confederate States of America. He died in the city and was originally buried in its elegant Metairie Cemetery.
In 1911 the city erected a towering statue of Davis, with his arm outstretched as if giving a rousing speech to its citizens. "The South, seeking a leader for her highest office, choose him from among her fittest men," reads one inscription. "His name is enshrined in the hearts of the people for whom he suffered." Despite this posthumous rhetoric, history notes that New Orleans abandoned Davis's Confederacy early in the Civil War, without much of a fight.
The Davis statue was the first one resurrected by New Orleans' Monumental Task Committee in 1991, after years of neglect. He still looks pretty good, although his outstretched arm and hand are occasionally draped with Mardi Gras beads tossed there by irreverent revelers.