Opposition to a plan to remove four monuments to Confederate history in New Orleans is growing as the city council prepares to give the final go-ahead on the landmarks' removal.
The New Orleans Advocate reports the Monumental Task Committee, a nonprofit group that repairs and maintains monuments in the city, delivered a petition to city officials on Tuesday with more than 31,000 signatures opposing the removal.
“New Orleans is known as America’s most iconic city. It has earned that title by preserving its rich history, not by removing and destroying it,” committee president Pierre McGraw told The Advocate.
A member of the city council, at-large Councilor Stacy Head, is also speaking out against the removal, saying that the process has been rushed, according to NOLA.com.
An opposing group, Take 'Em Down NOLA, told local TV station WDSU they will continue to advocate for the monuments' removal.
The council is currently scheduled to hear public opinion on the removal Thursday, and then vote on the matter Dec. 17. Five of the seven council members have previously indicted they would support removing the monuments, according to The Advocate.
Some of the monuments have been controversial in the city for years now, but the current effort to remove them by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu started over the summer following a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., by a white supremacist who appeared to be inspired by Confederate imagery.
Take 'Em Down NOLA has been posting photos on their Facebook page
The monuments under consideration for removal include:
- The Robert E. Lee monument that has stood on a tall plinth at Lee Circle since 1884. It commemorates the leader of the Confederate armed forces.
- A monument to Jefferson Davis has stood at the intersection of Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway since 1911. Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.
- A statue of Confederate General P.G. T. Beauregard was erected at the entrance of City Park in 1915. Beauregard led the bombardment of Fort Sumter, which marked the start of the Civil War, and was a Louisiana native.
- A marker commemorating the Battle of Liberty Place is the only non-Civil War monument scheduled to be removed. Erected in 1891 on Canal Street, it commemorates an 1874 attempt by a Democratic Party-allied white supremacist group, aptly named the White League, to seize control of the city government.
All four monuments are on our crowdsourced map of Confederate memorials, as well as numerous other public tributes to the Confederacy and its heroes in New Orleans and Louisiana. I suppose we'll find out next week if we'll be taking four dots off.