In a six-to-one vote on Dec. 17, New Orleans City Council decided to relocate four Confederate, reconstruction-era monuments. The four “nuisance” monuments—commemorating Robert E. Lee (Lee Circle), Jefferson Davis (Jeff Davis Parkway), P.G.T. Beauregard (outside City Park), and The Battle of Liberty Place (Iberville Street) — will soon be moved from their current positions of reverence into a city-owned warehouse and, eventually, to as-yet-undetermined public places of study.
The atmosphere in City Council chambers both before and after the public comments and the vote, was decidedly intense, with a third of the audience comprised of Black men and women old enough to have lived through legal lynching, segregation, and the tumultuous Civil Rights era. One man handed out t-shirts featuring a Black male urinating on a Confederate flag. A woman distributed “Kiss White Supremacy Goodbye” cookies.
Council President Jason Williams started the proceedings by reminding the capacity crowd in attendance, “We are here today to listen to each other, persuade each other and to communicate — but this is not a rally.” It seemed many did not hear this warning, as Williams was forced to slam down his gavel dozens of time to quiet the passionate capacity crowd, which grew more boisterous as the hours and public comments passed.
This past June, Mayor Mitch Landrieu requested City Council begin the process of relocating the statues to, as he put it, “right old injuries that didn’t heal right in the first place.” Landrieu was on hand to start the meeting with an appeal to the council to move the statues. “Their place of prominence and reverence misrepresents us as a city… The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity,” the mayor said, reminding the crowd that the Confederate army “fought against the United States of America,” and that the four statues were initially erected to “cast a shadow of oppression… These men should be remembered but not revered.” CLICK HERE to read the rest of this harrowing, blow-by-blow recount at LOUISIANA WEEKLY…
Or follow this link to watch the whole dramatic meeting in its entirity: http://www.nola.gov/mayor/press-releases/2015/20150804-pr-monuments-public-meetings/