LAWSUITS & SLIPPERY SLOPES: Here’s What’s Happening Post-New Orleans Monument Removal

Now that the New Orleans City Council has officially approved Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposal to remove Lee Circle, PGT Beauregard’s City Park statue, the Jefferson Davis monument and the Liberty Place monument, the issue of history in the city is only beginning.

Here is everything that will be happening next in New Orleans because of Landrieu’s monument removal:

TIED UP IN COURT

As predicted, a federal lawsuit was filed immediately following the New Orleans City Council’s 6-1 vote on the matter by a group of historical preservationists.

The over 50-page lawsuit notes that the Liberty Place monument is actually protected under federal guidelines and calls for a federal judge to instate a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against the Landrieu administration and city.

The lawsuit takes issue with the fact that Landrieu promised that an ‘anonymous donor’ would pay for the removal and storage of the four monuments.

“The mayor’s effort to fund removal of the monuments through the promise of an anonymous, unwritten donation is a violation of plaintiffs’ rights to due process of law,” the lawsuit notes. “The plan … is rife with the possibility of influence pedaling (if not worse) because it precludes and possibility the public will know whether the individual who made the donation receives anything of value from the city.”

Also, the lawsuit says that the PGT Beauregard and Jefferson Davis monuments were design, sculpted and erected with state and city money at the time, therefore the state has a legal right or say-so in what happens to both of these monuments.

The lawsuit also says that Lee Circle, PGT Beauregard and the Jefferson Davis monuments do not “clearly” sit on city property, therefore the city may not even have the authority to remove the monuments.

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE BEGINS

As previously reported by the Hayride, now that four of the most historical monuments in the city are getting the axe, other monuments, street names and landmarks are on the chopping block next.

Back in September, the Hayride reported exclusively about how the city’s most prominent statue of Andrew Jackson in Jackson Square could be the next to go for the Landrieu administration. And it turns out, that’s correct.

In a press conference yesterday, Landrieu said that monument removal of Lee Circle was just the beginning, a hint that Andrew Jackson could be next.

And it’s looking more likely for all of these monuments and landmarks to get the axe by Landrieu as well:

  • Col. Charles Didier Dreux monument in Mid City
  • Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan monument in Mid City
  • Gen. Albert Pike monument in Mid City
  • Palmer Park in the Carrollton neighborhood
  • Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in Central City
  • Washington Artillery Park in the French Quarter
  • E.D. White monument in the French Quarter
  • Confederate flag etching on City Hall in the Central Business District
  • Confederate Memorial Hall in the Central Business District

But, besides monuments and landmarks, the Landrieu administration may soon be taking on the task of renaming a slew of street names.

Here are all of the street names that may be changed by Landrieu:

  • Robert E. Lee Boulevard
  • Walker Street
  • Mouton Street
  • Lane Street
  • Bragg Street
  • Polk Street
  • Forshey Street
  • General Ogden Street
  • Calhoun Street
  • Palmer Avenue
  • Gen. Taylor Street
  • Gov. Nichols Street
  • Gen. Meyer Avenue
  • Slidell Street
  • Beauregard Drive & Lee Street

There’s really no telling where the Landrieu administration will stop with the removal of history in the city, meaning this could go as far as renaming a number of prominent Catholic street names as well.

STATE-WIDE PROTECTIONS

Though Governor-Election John Bel Edwards, a friend of the Landrieu’s, said he would not get involved with monument removal in New Orleans, there could very-well be a push for state-wide protections for history in the Louisiana legislature.

Save Our Circle Leader Tim Shea Carroll said his group would be exploring how to enact a state-wide protection for all historical monuments in the state with legislators. Carroll also said his grassroots organization is interested in seeking more security for monuments across the city, to protect them from vandals.

“Yesterday was the end of the beginning of this war,” Carroll told the Hayride. “Now the fighting really begins.”

Come the 2016 legislative session, residents can expect to see a number of lawmakers who come out to object to what Landrieu has done in New Orleans and request legislation that protects all historical landmarks, street names and monuments in the state.

LAFAYETTE MONUMENT REMOVAL BEGINS

Like residents saw in St. Bernard months ago, where the NAACP tried to rename a street name that they found offensive, New Orleans has set a history-purging precedent for other cities in the state.

In Lafayette, a sort of conservative-progressive mix of a city, a group is already demanding that a monument of Confederate War Gen. Alfred Mouton in the downtown area be removed because of the general’s history before the Civil War.

Apparently, as New Orleans goes, so goes Louisiana.

MITCH LANDRIEU’S POLITICAL FUTURE

A large part of monument removal, from the very beginning, had a lot to do with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s public image. When the AME Charleston Church shooting first occurred, Landrieu’s call for the monuments to be removed was somewhat accepted by a number of residents.

But, as time went on, more and more backlash came, grassroots organizations were created and anti-Landrieu sentiment sunk in.

This may be what kept Landrieu from entering the US Senate race for Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) seat. Landrieu, a year ago, would have been a shoe-in for Democrats trying to regain some power in the state.

Landrieu, though, is just no longer an option for state-wide office.

This could be why he is exploring a potential third term as the mayor of New Orleans. As just reported by the Hayride via the Uptown Messenger, Landrieu is apparently polling residents to see if they like him and if they would support a third term for him.

Months ago, sources close to the Hayride hinted at the potential that Landrieu may be trying to seek a third term in office. Of course, in order for Landrieu to do so, he would have to send a Home Rule Charter amendment to the City Council and they would have to approve it.

For Landrieu, there’s really nowhere else to go but New Orleans. In the rest of the state, he is plagued by the Landrieu name (remember Mary Landrieu was just ejected from her US Senate seat) and his record of high crime, purging history and old-school Democrat politics portrays him as a staunch liberal by New Orleans outsiders, a label that is simply unwinnable in ruby red Louisiana.



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