The latest developments from a New Orleans City Council meeting and vote Thursday to remove prominent Confederate monuments (all times local):
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has signed the monument removal ordinance into law. He says the process to remove three of the monuments will begin within days by finding a contractor to take them down.
One of the monuments is an obelisk dedicated to the Crescent City White League, a white supremacist group that sought to topple a biracial Reconstruction government. The removal of that monument is subject to a federal court order; the city will now take the legal steps needed for that to happen.
The mayor says it will cost about $170,000 to remove the monuments. The city previously has said an anonymous donor has offered to pay for the work.
The city says it plans to put the monuments in a warehouse until officials decide where they should be put in the future — perhaps in a museum or a park.
New Orleans council members have voted in favor of removing prominent Confederate monuments along some of its busiest streets — a sweeping move by a city seeking to break with its Confederate past.
The council’s 6-1 vote on Thursday afternoon allows the city to remove four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has stood at the center of a traffic circle for 131 years.
The decision to take down the monuments comes after months of impassioned debate. Now, the city faces possible lawsuits seeking to keep the monuments where they are.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu first proposed taking down these monuments after police said a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June.
Members of the New Orleans City Council are expressing their views on Confederate monuments in the city, with a majority saying they are offensive and should be removed.
The council members’ sentiments echo the emotions in the public, and those supporting the removal are applauded loudly while the two who have spoken against the removal are heckled.
Councilman Jared Brossett says the monuments are symbols of oppression.
Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey said: “It breaks my heart that in 2015 we are still having to dealing with the effects of slavery.”
Another City Council member, James Gray, says the monuments do not reflect the true history of New Orleans, a city he says was mostly on the side of the Union and not the Confederacy.
He says the monument to Robert E. Lee is a monument to a criminal.
A motion to keep two Confederate monuments in place in New Orleans has failed.
Council member at-large Stacy Head asked Thursday to keep large monuments to Confederate commanders Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard in place. But her motion received no support from the seven-person council.
The council is poised to make a sweeping break with its past as it considers removing prominent Confederate monuments from some of its busiest streets.
Head made her motion after public comments at Thursday’s meeting. A council vote is to follow.
Head also asked Mayor Mitch Landrieu to spell out future plans for what will happen to other monuments, such as a statue of Andrew Jackson in the French Quarter.
Landrieu says a commission should be established to consider creating a park where the city’s history — and the removed monuments — can be explained.
Read more: CNS News
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