City outlines plan to remove Lee Statue, details what will replace monuments.

May 18, 2017 - 10:29 pm
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WWL.com Reporting

NEW ORLEANS – Friday, New Orleans City officials will continue the process to remove the last remaining of four controversial Confederate-era monuments.

 Mayor Landrieu is expected to make remarks Friday afternoon at 3 p.m..
 
The process to remove the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle is expected to begin between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, May 19. The New Orleans Police Department will be present to ensure public safety. The public is encouraged to be safe, patient and prepared for disruptions to vehicular and pedestrian access to streets in surrounding areas.

Beginning 4 a.m. on Friday, May 19, several streets around the area of Lee Circle will be closed to thru traffic. Road closures will be set at the following intersections: Calliope and Carondelet, St. Charles and Calliope, Howard and Carondelet, St. Joseph and St. Charles, and Camp St. and Andrew Higgins Drive. Normal traffic will resume by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 19.

To protect the safety of the public, including protesters on both sides and the public’s property, the NOPD will be closing streets to vehicular traffic within a one-block radius of Lee Circle immediately before and during the removal process. 

The city's release stated "Citizens have a right to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful protest. We understand there are strong emotions surrounding this subject, and we ask that the public remain peaceful and respectful while demonstrating. Out of an abundance of caution, the City’s Office of Homeland Security and the NOPD have taken extraordinary security measures and dedicated the necessary public safety resources to maintain law and order while protecting workers and all people exercising their right to peacefully protest."

Parking enforcement personnel will be monitoring illegal parking, including blocked hydrants, driveways and sidewalks, or cars parked within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection or stop signs. Motorists are also reminded to park in the direction of travel on one-way streets and with the right wheel to the curb on two-way streets.

In addition, RTA services, including bus service, may be interrupted during this event. Details on any route changes are available at www.norta.com.

WHERE THE MONUMENTS ARE GOING

The City has been in the process of determining a more appropriate place to display the statues post-removal, such as a museum or other site, where they can be placed in their proper historical context from a dark period of American history. The statues are in the process of being crated and are being stored in City-owned warehouses or secure facilities.

Offers to take individual monuments have come in from both public and private institutions, and the City has decided that a competitive RFP process will facilitate the open and transparent selection of where they ultimately go and how they can be presented as educational tools with historical context.  

Only nonprofit and governmental entities will be eligible to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement to host the statues.  The RFP process will be used for the Battle of Liberty Place statue, the Jefferson Davis statue, and the Robert E. Lee statue.

Proposals will be able to be submitted for statues individually or as a group.  All proposals must state how they will place the statues in context, both in terms of why they were first erected and why the City chose to remove them in 2015. 

The statues will not be able to be displayed outdoors on public property in Orleans Parish.

The RFP is expected to be released in the coming weeks, with proposals due this summer. A public selection committee made up of City officials will make a recommendation for entities to receive and display the statues, with approval by the City Council.  

Due to the complexity of the legal issues surrounding the property on which the PGT Beauregard monument was situated, the City and the City Park Improvement Association will continue to have good-faith discussions regarding that property; the statue will be considered separately based on the result of those discussions.
 

WHAT IS GOING IN THEIR PLACE

The area that formerly housed the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway will be replaced by an American flag.  The area that formerly housed the Battle of Liberty Place monument will remain as is.

The City Park Improvement Association will also take a leading role in determining what replaces the Beauregard monument at the entrance to City Park, in partnership with the City and other civic groups. The remaining part of the base will be removed in due course.

The City plans to leave the column that houses the Robert E. Lee statue intact.  The City will also be undertaking public infrastructure improvements to include a water feature at the circle. The circle will be able to incorporate public art. The City has begun the process to design the public infrastructure improvements to be ready for the public art.

The goal is to complete the sites during the City’s tricentennial year in 2018.

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