The Monumental Task Committee, which is an organization devoted to the preservation of monuments in New Orleans, held a press conference today. In their press conference, they said the P.G.T. Beauregard monument may be outside of the jurisdiction of the City of New Orleans.
City Park and not the city of New Orleans owns the P.G.T. Beauregard monument and the land it sits upon, and therefore the city cannot remove it, according to Richard Marksbury, a member of the Monumental Task Committee.
Marksbury said he filed a lawsuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court seeking a temporary restraining order that would prevent the city from removing the statue. In addition, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, a monuments supporter, sent a letter to the park’s chairman of the board, asking that he protect the monument.
Marksbury said City Park was sold the land in 1900. Despite the fact the Beauregard monument is across the street from the park, Marksbury said that at the time of the sale, there was no street and the statue and the land were an extension of the park itself.
Monday afternoon, City Park issued a brief response:
“City Park has just received copies of the lawsuit by Richard Marksbury against the City of New Orleans. We have not had an opportunity to review the allegations in the lawsuit, but have instructed our attorneys to immediately review same,” said Robert W. Becker, CEO of City Park.
City Park is under the jurisdiction of the state because it is state-owned property. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has weighed in and told the City Park Improvement Association to object to the removal of the Beauregard monument.
Beauregard was a Confederate general during the Civil War, but before the war, he was a distinguished U.S. Army officer. After the war, he returned to New Orleans and became an important community leader and businessman. Beauregard swore allegiance to the Union after the war and was granted a full pardon.