Four monuments of Confederate-era leaders may be removed in New Orleans, Lousiana, after the city's historic landmarks commission voted Thursday to recommend relocating them, with those in favor of the proposal arguing that the statues are not representative of the beliefs of the majority of the city.
The vote came after a heated public hearing Tuesday about the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle, the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, the P.G.T. Beauregard statue on Esplanade Avenue at the entrance to City Park and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument at Iberville Street. Each statue was evaluated separately by the 12-member board to determine whether or not the monument was a "nuisance," reported WDSU New Orleans.
There is so much tension in the council chambers. High emotions and outbursts over the Confederate monuments.
— Meg Farris (@megfarrisWWL) August 13, 2015
Those against their removal championed the monuments' historical value and argued that they cost too much to remove. Their relocation would cost the city millions, reported Louisiana site The Hayride.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal opposes the relocation of the monuments and said in a statement that he "has instructed his staff to look into the Heritage Act to determine the legal authority he has as governor to stop it."
— Elizabeth Crisp (@elizabethcrisp) August 13, 2015
Although the decision is not final, the commission's opinion "does hold some weight" if the proposal goes before the city council, reported WWL 105.3.
"These statues have never bothered me, but that's because I've been ignorant," said City Commissioner John Deveney, who supports their removal.
The proposal is backed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who appeared before the city council to begin the "legal and public hearing processes" of their relocation, and the hearing is part of the 60-day period of discussions and public meetings called for by the mayor.
"These symbols say who we were in a particular time, but times change. Yet these symbols -- statues, monuments, street names and more -- still influence who we are and how we are perceived by the world," Landrieu said.
Another public hearing has already been scheduled to discuss the monuments. New Orleans' Human Relations Commission will hold a meeting Thursday evening.
In the last few months, there has been a move in the South to divorce from Confederate images. Confederate symbols have come down in response to a mass shooting in June inside a South Carolina church that killed nine African-American worshippers and is believed to have been racially motivated.