Franklin in New Orleans

There are at least two statues of Dr. Franklin in New Orleans. The most public one is in Lafayette Square:


This is fully discussed at the Best of New Orleans website (content duplicated below). The article mentions that the original statue has been relocated to the Ben Franklin High School, where the incoming principal, Patrick Widhalm, can be relied on to send us a picture as he relocates to the Big Easy.

caption: This statue of Benjamin Franklin at Lafayette Square was a gift to the city from a Chicago resident who spent winters in New Orleans.

Why does New Orleans have a statue of Benjamin Franklin?

Blake Pontchartrain on the Franklin statue in Lafayette Square

Hey Blake,

Why did Henry Wadsworth Gustine dedicate a statue of Benjamin Franklin to the people of the Big Easy? Based on the quotes he elected to include on the plaque, it seems he was throwing some solid bronze shade at our laissez-faire lifestyle.


Dear Mac,

The statue of Benjamin Franklin that caught your eye sits on the Camp Street side of Lafayette Square in New Orleans’ Central Business District. While it is a handsome statue of the founding father, it seems out of place because Franklin had no direct connection to our city.

The statue of which you write actually is the second Franklin one to be placed in that spot. The first was erected in the center of the square in 1873 and was moved to a different spot in the park in 1900. It was replaced by a statue of Henry Clay that had been moved to Lafayette Square from Canal Street. Because of deterioration caused by the weather, Franklin’s statue was removed from the park altogether in 1909 and relocated first to the public library and later to Benjamin Franklin High School.

The second statue — the one that stands in Lafayette Square now — was a gift of Henry Wadsworth Gustine of Chicago, who spent winters in New Orleans during his retirement and always visited the Franklin statue. When the statue was removed, Gustine raised the money to create a new one, an exact replica of one in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The new statue was unveiled on Oct. 20, 1926, which also was Gustine’s 89th birthday. He died the next year.

The pedestal on which the nearly life-size statue stands was donated by the New Orleans Typothetae, or printers’ association, honoring the impact Franklin had on the printing trade. It bears two quotes from Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack: “Save while you are young, to spend when you are old,” and “One penny saved is better than two pennies earned.”

Religion of Ignorance

A teacher friend noticed this quote:

“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins. ”

This is found on American History Central. I don’t recognize this, nor do I find it searching The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (online).

I’ve emailed the American History Channel email contact address to see if they have source information. I would appreciate any such information.



Franklin’s Judaism Teachings

Shai Afsai, a researcher and writer from Providence, Rhode Island, presented a series of three lectures on January 16-17, 2015, including discussing Benjamin Franklin’s connection with the Jews of his day and his subsequent influence on Judaism’s mussar movement.

The lecture series was described, with photographs, in this report. We note with pleasure that the Franklin lecture was nicely timed to be given on Dr. Franklin’s 309th Birthday.

We are also happy to receive and offer an article by Mr. Afsai on that topic: Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Virtue, the American Enlightenment, and Mussar.

Thank you, Mr. Afsai!

The references in this article lead to further interesting reading: this response to this book review clarifies Franklin’s origination of this method, and describes the progress of Franklin’s technique of behavior modification.

Birthday Puzzle in the Sand

Can you find the four differences between these two happy-birthday messages? Click on each picture to bring up an expandable version.

Happy Birthday version 1 of 2.

Happy Birthday version 1 of 2.

Here is version #2:

Version 2 of 2

Version 2 of 2

Many thanks, and Happy Franklin’s Birthday to Diane Guntzel of Clinton, Iowa!

Celebration! Benjamin Franklin, Founder

The January 2014 celebration is approaching soon, full information is at the Celebration website.

The 2015 Philadelphia Celebration includes a free morning seminar on the topic of Building the City from 9-10:30 at Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street featuring:

•Dr. Sandra L. Tatman, Executive Director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

•Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Central Philadelphia Development Corp.

•Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, Drexel University

At 11am, a procession up 5th Street, leaving from The American Philosophical Society Library (105 S. Fifth Street) to Dr. Franklin’s grave will be followed by a luncheon from 11:45-2 honoring Mr. Olin, at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, 400 Arch Street.