The Slatest

New Orleans Votes to Remove Confederate Monuments to Robert E. Lee and Others

The Robert E. Lee monument in New Orleans in 2008.  

Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images

The New Orleans City Council voted Thursday to remove a handful of monuments to the Confederacy from prominent locations around the city. The 6-to-1 vote to remove the three Civil War-era inspired statues and one obelisk was the culmination of a contentious campaign that began over the summer when New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for their removal. “We, the people of New Orleans, have the power and we have the right to correct these historical wrongs,” Landrieu said Thursday before the vote.

The four monuments were all erected in the late-19th and early-20th century during the Jim Crow era. Here’s more on each via the New York Times:

… [A] bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in a traffic circle, named Lee Circle, in the city’s central business district since 1884, and an obelisk in the French Quarter to recognize the Battle of Liberty Place [will be removed]. The City Council also voted to remove statues of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general, and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

“The decision did not come lightly after months of public shouting matches, penned op-eds and rhetorical firefights on social media enveloped Landrieu’s request in June that the statues be displayed in a museum, mothballed or discarded as vestiges of New Orleans’ racist past,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Opponents of removing the monuments included Gov. Bobby Jindal. The momentum for their removal began in the wake of the racially motivated church shootings in Charleston, South Carolina this summer. CNN writes the move by the city of New Orleans is “one of the strongest gestures yet by an American city to remove symbols of Confederate history, following a trend in many Southern states to take down the Confederate battle flag.”