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Defender Picks


Pennington's Pressure Point: Citizen Cleans Spray-Painted Civil War Statues

by Shay Sokol

When Roy Pennington, 56, heard that three city monuments were vandalized this week, he immediately thought about the hundred thousand people coming in for Final Four weekend. “I was angry. People will see this, our city defaced. I don’t think so. Not if I can help it,” said Pennington, the owner of Hi-Pressure Cleaning Systems in Houma and Harvey.


Yesterday, Pennington and his staff volunteered to clean the graffiti off the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and White League monuments, which were tagged, “For Trayvon Martin,” “For Justin Sipp,” and “For Wendell Allen,” respectively, late Monday night.


“I immediately knew it would take the city a while to clean it up. The thing with graffiti remediation is you have to remove it as quickly as possible,” Pennington said.


The city only allowed Pennington to clean the Robert E. Lee monument in Lee Circle and the Jefferson Davis monument on S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy and Canal St., because the White League monument is on property owned by the Audubon Institute, not the city. The White League monument is located near One Canal Place on Iberville St.


Pennington said of the message of the vandals, “It’s utterly foolish that you think you can protest something that happened in Florida here in New Orleans.” When asked if he was aware that two of the three monuments were tagged “For Justin Sipp” and “For Wendell Allen” – in reference to two local young black men who were killed by NOPD officers earlier this month – Pennington said, “I had no idea.”


This was no Grey Ghost job. The monuments were pressure washed clean, leaving no trace of the protest markings.  When explaining why he chose to clean the monuments, Pennington said, “There’s nothing racial to it in my mind. Someone defaced our city times three. I can’t change racial relations, but I can clean a monument.”


Pennington, who was formerly a Reserve Deputy Sherriff in Terrebonne Parish, didn’t think too highly of one of the messages found on Robert E. Lee – “Jail all cops.”


“Some knucklehead with a couple dollars of paint was just trying to get 15 minutes of fame,” Pennington said.


Pennington was not out for publicity, he said, but wanted to protect his city from vandalism.


Meanwhile, Coca-Cola hit the streets of the city later in the week with their own markings, and created a far bigger uproar than the protesters managed to create by spraying down some Civil War monuments. 

Thank you, Mr. Pennington

Thank you, Mr. Pennington

"our city," says the ex-pig

"our city," says the ex-pig living in Harvey or Houma or wherever.

You can try to hide it with a pressure washer, but you can't wash away the history of racism and violence in this city, fool! another racist trying to whitewash history.

Go home.

Go home.

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