As a committee of city government called Thursday for taking down four controversial statues that celebrate Confederate officials and a white supremacist group’s violent fight against a biracial state government during Reconstruction, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office said it is looking into whether he can use the power of his office to keep the monuments in place.
The monuments, including the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee atop the column at a St. Charles Avenue traffic circle, should be taken down under an ordinance that allows the City Council to remove public statues that celebrate racist ideologies or are likely to be sites of violent protest, the Historic District Landmarks Commission decided after about an hour of sometimes heated testimony.
The HDLC’s recommendation, approved by an 11-1 vote, now heads to the City Council. Later Thursday, the Human Relations Commission held a similar hearing on the fate of the monuments and was expected to issue its own recommendation.
In addition to the statue of Lee, the commission recommended removing the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the street that bears his name and the statue of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general, from City Park’s entrance.
It also called for removing the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, commemorating attacks by members of the city’s white population against the state’s Reconstruction-era government in 1874.