The New Orleans city council voted Thursday to remove several Confederate monuments from their respective public spaces, including a towering statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu swiftly signed the measure into law.
According to The New Orleans Advocate
, the vote came down 6-1 after an emotional and packed meeting that featured impassioned speeches from citizens and elected officials alike.
The monuments that will be removed "include the statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle, Confederate President Jefferson Davis on Jefferson Davis Parkway, and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park, plus a monument on Iberville Street near the river honoring the so-called Battle of Liberty Place, an 1874 rebellion against the state’s biracial Reconstruction-era government by a group of former Confederates seeking to restore white 'home rule.'"
Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, who voted for removal, said, "As a society we can no longer live beneath their shadows."
"We cannot hit a delete button for the messy parts of our history," Michael Duplantier, a resident, said in a public comment at the meeting, The New York Times reported
"We, the people of New Orleans, have the power and we have the right to correct these historical wrongs," Mayor Landrieu said ahead of the vote. He suggested the statues be removed, and possibly placed in a museum.
Landrieu was among many officials across the south who called for the removal of Confederate iconography this summer in the wake of a deadly shooting at a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina, carried out by a white supremacist.
"I am happy and impressed that we have a white mayor who understands a little bit what it means to be an African American and he's on our side on this," said Councilman James Gray, who is black, The Times-Picayune reported.
Mayor Ernest N. Morial tried unsuccessfully in 1981 to remove the obelisk in the French Quarter to recognize the Battle of Liberty Place. It will now come down.
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