New Orleans council votes to remove Confederate monuments
NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 Thursday to remove Confederate monuments from public lands in the city.
The only dissenting vote was council member Stacy Head.
The vote clears the way for the city to remove statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and a monument to the White League.
The decision came after a lengthy, raucous meeting during which many members of the public spoke their views. Several members of the audience and speakers were also removed from the meeting.
Members of the council also shared their opinions before the vote. Councilman Jared Brossett said 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, said 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 said the monument to Robert E. Lee is a monument to a criminal.
The official vote was to declare the statues as public nuisances. The next step, actually removing the statues, remains unclear. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said a private donor offered to cover the costs of removing the monuments from their current locations, and suggested at one point a new park could be created specifically for Civil War monuments.
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.