The city of New Orleans is calling for a very controversial removal of Confederate monuments. The city Council voted on Thursday, December 17, 2015 to remove the monuments. A lawsuit has been filed against the removal by three preservation organizations and a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The main argument that the lawsuit states is that three of the four Confederate monuments are not on land that is owned by the city. The lawsuit further states that the three monuments are protected from removal on both the state and federal levels because the land is privately owned.
The Confederate past has come into the spotlight recently after a shooting in South Carolina in June 2015. The shooting occurred at an African-American church, and nine victims died in the attacks. The shooting has caused many cities, including New Orleans, to try to erase their past as a Confederate state.
The monuments that are pending removal include:
- A 60-foot-tall marble column dedicated to Robert E Lee.
- A statue of Jefferson Davis, Confederate President.
- An equestrian statue of PGT Beauregard, a Confederate Gen. that was born in Louisiana.
- An obelisk that is dedicated to a white supremacist group that tried to topple the reconstruction government of New Orleans.
The lawsuit states that many of these statues are not on land that is owned by the city, and that these statues should be protected and preserved as part of the city’s rich history.
The lawsuit also states that “the Civil War era was a formative event in Louisiana’s history.” Regardless of the events of the war, it was a source of heritage for the city of New Orleans, according to the lawsuit.
New Orleans is attempting to remove the statues under a “nuisance” ordinance. The ordinance allows the removal of public property if it is dangerous or contains unlawful ideologies of supremacy. The city will try to argue that these statues can be used as rallying points during violent demonstrations in the future.
Following the announcement of the lawsuit, city officials did state that they will not remove any monuments before the case is heard on January 14, 2016.
These suit’s claims span 51 pages in length, and also include the announcement that the city cannot remove these monuments because the land was donated by the city to various groups between 1877 and 1911.