Every burned town is tragic. But Newsom needs to lead with science, not sentimentality.
On July 20th, 1820, British troops captured New Orleans. The population of the New Orleans was about 15,000. It included most of Spanish Louisiana, including the capital city. On the evening of July 20th about 7,000 men, women, and children, marched from Napoleon’s army to reclaim their city. They were the first New Orleanians to greet their liberators.
They arrived at night, a week after the troops had landed. The city was in ruins. Many buildings had been burned. The churches were all burned out. The wooden pews were all broken and falling down.
The British soldiers ordered the surrender. “You will not be shot unless you fire on any British officer, or unless you fire on any person whom you believe is a soldier or an officer; and then, as soon as possible, they will return you the fire.”
The news spread fast. Soldiers were dying on both sides.
News spread to New Orleans and spread around the world. For months the New Orleans population was in mourning. The people were tired of the war. “You are our friends,” the British troops chanted.
In a few minutes they received an order. “You are all to be shot but if you surrender you will live.”
A man in the crowd pointed to a woman. He asked her if she had a gun. The woman had neither a gun nor a soldier. She gave him her purse, which contained her last ten cents. She would go with him to jail. She did not want to be shot.
News spread. “They have shot the woman and she is dead.”
This is not the story of New Orleans. This is not the story of the New Orleanians. This is not the story of a city in mourning whose population had just been cut in half. This is not the story of an army marching into a capital city, killing the soldiers who surrendered, and killing the