More than three dozen streets, parks and other public spaces could soon have new names.
The New Orleans City Council now has the recommendations from the Street Renaming Commission.
No name changes will happen immediately. The recommendations from the SRC will have to go before the city council. The council will have to have public input before anything would change.
One of the biggest changes could come to Lee Circle. The commission voted to suggest the name Égalité Circle which means equality.
Council Member Jay Banks said the name suggestions are very intentional and the SRC worked hard to get public input. While some argue this is re-writing history, Banks believes that’s far from true.
“No one can rewrite history, but this city has the authority, the ability and the responsibility to pay homage and respect to the people we deem are necessary,” said Banks.
Some residents maintain the city could spend taxpayer dollars better.
“Fix the street before you change it’s name,” said Jan Cranfield. “If you probably ask those people over there what was wrong with that person, half the people sitting there probably have no idea. I don’t understand why it’s important.”
Council Member Kristin Palmer said New Orleans streets are not reflective of the “gumbo” that our city is.
“95% of our streets are named after white men. They forget the history of women, African Americans, Haitians, Creoles, and the people that built this city and the amazing history,” Palmer said.
Cranfield argues, “When the city was being built at that time, it was the men doing it, not the women. That’s why the streets…that’s history!”
Some citizens who wrote into the commission said the name changes are about racial healing and equity.
“It is destructive and regressive of the monuments and streets to honor people who contributed to slavery and racism,” one resident wrote. “We should stand for equality and justice and honor those who did.”
Click here to see the full list of suggested name changes.