New Orleans Mayor takes stand against controversial Confederate statues

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made a big announcement Wednesday morning, saying he wants to take down the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle.

Standing tall in our city's skyline is the General Robert E. Lee Monument in Lee Circle.

"It's one of the City's longest standing monuments, and it's been there since 1884,"  Ashley Merlin, Author of "Statuesque New Orleans", said.

The General Lee Monument certainly has its place in history, but Mayor Landrieu says it's a piece of history that doesn't fit in with New Orleans' present or future.

"Even though Robert E. Lee reflects a part of our history, he doesn't reflect what the city is or who the city wants to be," Mayor Landrieu said.

As the city prepares for it 300th birthday, they've been having open discussions about removing and renaming symbols, statues, and streets that no longer belong.

"To me they should reflect unity, diversity and our culture, things that bring us together, not separate us," Mayor Landrieu said.

The Urban League of Greater New Orleans applauds the Mayor's efforts.

"This conversation has been a long time coming. This is something the city has grappled with throughout it's history," Erica McConduit-Diggs, President/CEO of Urban League of Greater New Orleans, said.

"I would say General Lee has been a significant part of our nation's dark past," she said.

The Monumental Task Committee which advocates for statues and monuments in our city and works on getting them restored said in a statement:

"We've never supported moving or altering monuments, but have encouraged neighborhoods to embrace the treasures located in their midst, and learn the unique stories each monument tells."

But if that story doesn't help us heal racially, then the city wants nothing to do with it.

"Race is something we must deal with.  Not go over it.  Not go under it.  We must get through it," Mayor Landrieu said.

The Mayor said all Confederate names and symbols are in play for possible changes.  That would include the PGT Beauregard statue in front of City Park, The Jefferson Davis Monument, and the Liberty Monument.

14 comments

  • Rodney Davis

    This is CRAZY AND THE MAYOR IS CRAZY FOR saying these blaten lies about RACISM , the civil war was not about racism , you MAYOR need a history lesson and stop feeding on the poor people of New Orleans , the only RACISM is the poverty levels in low income inner city’s which cause RACISM against black on black acts of violence . Stop promoting lies there is no RACISM in the United States , it’s people like you who promote it that causes lies to be told to people who are gullable and have no education. STOP THE LIES

  • Rita Ryder

    NewOrleans is a disgrace to our Confederate veterans, They fought for that honor and for everything that represents them to be removed is disgraceful. I will never visit New Orleans again !!!!

  • Pam

    I’m all for taking down the flags from Government buildings but removing statues and renaming streets
    is a bit of a knee jerk reaction I think. If it was so heinous to people of color before these incidents of racism, I would think that they would have done something about it before this. We cant rewrite history nor should we. Good or bad it is part of who they are, especially southern history. Im not from the south but they are proud of their fight for independence and mourn the loss of their relatives who died in the battle for that independence.

  • Rosalie

    It’s ridiculous…..Taking down statues and renaming streets is going to stop racism????? All the politicians and the media are doing right now is causing more racism. Here’s a questions…. Where was all this BS before the shooting at this church??? I know I hadn’t heard a word regarding any of it coming down or being discarded. YOU CAN’T AND SHOULDN’T EVEN TO TRY CHANGING HISTORY, IT’S WHO WE ARE! How you decide to deal with it is for the individual to decide and I can tell you that a statue is not going to be a factor in that. People need to stop living in the past and start living in the present and planning the future in the here and now. BTW, I am 59 and while the statue of Robert E. Lee is a monument of history, when someone mentions it to me, my thoughts are “Great place to catch Mardi Gras parades”! If you agree that history should be left alone, then by all means you need to let them know personally!
    Mitch Landrieu’s contact information: Phone # (504) 658-4900
    email: mayor@nola.gov

  • Elaine

    This onslaught of political correctness is getting ridiculous. It started with removal of the Confederate flag, now it is getting rid of historic statues, changing the names of schools, and changing school mascots. All this effort is being directed at the wrong thing for the wrong reason. That evil man killed 9 people in a church. Lets put the responsibility where it lies.

  • Abby P

    Hey Landrieu,
    We come to your wonderful city once a year… I’ve been doing so since I was a kid for almost 20 years now. Your gorgeous city has a piece of my heart. My heart would literally break to see landmarks destroyed at your hands. Guess I’ll take my money elsewhere this year and every year while you are in office, I still have plenty of time to cancel my hotel reservations for Halloween. I’ll be sure to spread the word too…. can only imagine what this is going to do for tourism.

  • D J Tigerman

    A statue of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton shaking hands will make everyone who is offended by the statues very happy

  • djtigerman53

    A statue of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton shaking hands will make everyone who is offended by the statues very happy. This has gotten way out of hand.

  • Larry

    ML is just like his sister, politically correct. Playing to his base instead of dealing with the killings and crime in Nola. Hopefully his political future will end like sister Mary.

  • Anthoby

    She’s a clown. Lee was actually a man. One of the few that freed his slaves. And he freed them when it looked like the South would win. Grant held on to his until the bitter end as did Lincoln ally Blair.
    The Civil War is more complex than most people think. There were numerous reasons that people on both sides fought. This is part of our history. Not the best chapter of it but part of it nonetheless. Ultimately it is up to the state and city to decide though so my opinion is irrelevant.

  • Jaddy Baddy

    I’m confused, is it ISIS that wants
    to take down all the confederate
    statues, and the NAACP that’s
    blowing up all the Buddahs; or is
    it the NAACP bitching and whining
    about the confederate statues and
    ISIS blowing up all the Buddahs?
    It’s getting hard to tell these
    extremists apart.

  • Katie Landry

    Mr. Mayor, if you are going to denounce historical monuments honoring the Civil War, you should also be denouncing your political affiliation, as it was once the premise of racism.

    • Katie Landry

      If Democrats are going to call the Confederate flag a symbol of racism, they should take into account who resurrected the flag, because it was Democrats. In South Carolina, former Senator Fritz Hollings, a Democrat, is responsible for flying the Confederate flag at the State Capitol.And Pres. Bill Clinton, also a Democrat, actually signed a proclamation to have the Confederate flag fly over the State Capitol in Arkansas while he was governor. Clinton’s mentor, at the time, was a well-known segregationist, J. William Fulbright.Mr. Mayor, if you are going to denounce historical monuments honoring the Civil War, you should also be denouncing your political affiliation, as it was once the premise of racism.

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