The New Orleans City Council has decided to move four Confederate monuments from prominent locations around the city.
The process to remove three of the monuments — the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle, the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, and the P.G.T Beauregard equestrian statue at the entrance to City Park — could begin within days. But, the Battle of Liberty Place Monument at Iberville Street requires a federal court process before it can be removed. Private money is funding the removal, at an estimated cost of $170,000.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu started the push to have the monuments removed after the June 17 shooting in South Carolina, where a 21-year-old gunman massacred six African-Americans in a church. An investigation showed that the shooter had taken photographs venerating the Confederate flag, Time reported.
“We should remember that the Confederacy nearly destroyed our country, and would have seen to enslaving most of our city,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said during a special meeting of the City Council on December 17. “By maintaining reverential monuments to the cause of this Confederacy in such out of context, honored, prominent public places, we betray our full history, ignore the progress of our city and limit our future.”
Members of the City Council voted 6 to 1 in support of the removal of the monuments. The four monuments were declared nuisances according to the Code of the City of New Orleans, and will be stored in a city-owned warehouse until a more suitable location, like a museum or park, is developed.
“Individual Confederate soldiers, no doubt fighting bravely for a cause they believed in, nevertheless fought against the United States for a cause that was wrong,” Mayor Landrieu said at the meeting. “Lee led that fight. Jefferson Davis presided over it. P.G.T Beauregard participated in it. If that cause had won, it would have been the end of our American experiment in democracy and liberty.
“Luckily, at great cost, President Lincoln and the Union forces successfully defended the Constitution and the ideals of this great nation,” Mayor Landrieu said.
Baltimore officials were also prompted by the church massacre in South Carolina in June to rename the city’s Robert E. Lee Park. In September, the park became Lake Roland, and is being redeveloped to include a new nature center.