New Orleans, Louisiana
The U. S. Navy Chief Petty Officer’s Mess from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans descended upon City Park October 30th with a monumental mission in mind. The group of active duty sailors volunteered their time to help the Monumental Task Committee, Inc. (MTC), a local nonprofit preservation organization, clean a historical military monument that was erected by the American Legion in 1921 and dedicated to those sailors, soldiers, aviators, and marines that lost their lives in World War 1. The project was the first to fall under the MTC's newly developed Meet Me at the Monument Volunteer Maintenance Program, which allows social, educational and community groups to show pride in their city and neighborhoods by participating in quarterly monument cleaning and upkeep projects.
The ornate, concrete cast obelisk that received the cleaning is nestled under several large oak trees at the edge of New Orleans’ picturesque City Park. The monument sits atop a granite base and prior to the cleaning was suffering from severe dirt buildup, biological growth and graffiti. An inscription on the base reads: “In memory of our comrades who made the supreme sacrifice.”
With the assistance of preservation consultant and MTC volunteer, Jeanne Stallworth, the sailors and several local boy scouts applied a PH neutral soap to the piece and gently removed the residue and growth that had been accumulating on its surface for years.
“We were happy to become involved with this exciting endeavor, ” commented Master Chief Les Burl, the Command Master Chief of NAS JRB New Orleans. “We felt that it was important to give back to the community as well as to honor those service members that have gone before us. We are looking forward to working with the MTC on many more projects.”
After the monument received a general cleaning, a test sample of a specialized graffiti removal product was applied to facilitate the removal of green spray paint that was recently discovered on the right hand side of the column. The process to completely restore the monument is ongoing and will culminate in the application of an anti-graffiti coating that is designed to protect the surface from future graffiti damage.
“These sailors are amazing, ” said Pierre McGraw, the president and founder of the Monumental Task Committee, Inc. “They came out to the site, battled the Voodoo Fest traffic, listened intently to directions and set to work. Their attention to detail is precisely what was needed for this type of job. Because of their efforts, future generations of New Orleanians will be able to learn from and enjoy this significant piece of history and art. ”
To learn how your group can participate in the Meet Me at the Monument Maintenance Program, please contact the MTC at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Meet Me at the Monument Maintenance Program." in the subject line. To see more pictures of the event, visit the MTC facebook page.