NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 17 (UPI) — Following a lead taken by multiple southern states, New Orleans on Thursday voted to remove four Confederate monuments that stand in the city due to the highly controversial and racial-tinged stigma that accompany the symbols.
By a 6-1 vote Thursday, the New Orleans City Council, led by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, moved to have the markers removed.
“The time surely comes when [justice] must and will be heard,” he told the council. “Members of the council, that day is today. The Confederacy, you see, was on the wrong side of history and humanity.”
“As we approach the Tricentennial, New Orleanians have the power and the right to correct historical wrongs and move the City forward,” he added.
Although long a prideful symbol of southern states, the Confederacy has taken a public beating in recent months due to its perception by many that it is also a symbol of racism.
“Have these public monuments done justice to our city and our heritage? Have they inflicted pain or unease?” councilman Jared Brossett asked in a statement.
Earlier this year, South Carolina voted to remove the “Rebel Flag” from state grounds and Mississippi is considering the adopting of a new state flag — as the current iteration has the Confederate mark in the upper left hand corner.
Criticism of the Confederate symbol amplified in June when a gunman killed nine people at a South Carolina church. Suspect Dylann Roof, who investigators believe is an advocate for segregation, had previously posted images online that included the rebel sign.
The four monuments affected by Thursday’s vote are pillars honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate president Jefferson Davis. An obelisk marking the Battle of Liberty Place in the city will also come down.
Specifically, the New Orleans City Council evaluated all four monuments on the basis of whether they constituted a nuisance. After months of evaluation, all but one council member concluded that they do.
“We, the people of New Orleans, have the power and we have the right to correct these historical wrongs,” Landrieu said.
The lone dissenter, Stacy Head, said she believes removing the monuments does nothing to address social and economic barriers the city struggles with.
“I asked for a compromise multiple times,” she said. “But that compromise was not given any chance.”
Head proposed the statues of Lee and Beauregard be allowed to remain on the condition that explanatory plaques be added to balance the perception of the men’s significance. That proposal, however, was immediately rejected.
Landrieu proposed that the monuments be placed in a museum or a Civil War park.