NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court
has ruled that Confederate statues in New Orleans will come down,
allowing city officials to remove these historic symbols as prominent
fixtures in the city.
According to a report
by National Public Radio, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
recently ruled in favor of a plan created by city officials to remove
the statues of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis — two Confederate
leaders — from the city’s landscape, regardless of challenges to
“Times change,” William P. Quigley, a professor at
Loyola University and director of the Loyola Law Clinic, told the
Louisiana Record. “These statues have been some of the most
prominent in the city. New Orleans' population is no longer
supportive of the Confederacy and its elected officials, after
several public hearings, democratically decided it was time they came
The appeals court ruled in line with the district court
on the matter, stating that the plaintiffs
in the case — which are challenging the removal and include The
Monumental Task Committee, Louisiana Landmarks Society, Foundation
for Historical Louisiana, and Beauregard Camp No. 130 — have failed
to prove their arguments.
Regardless of the challenges, the city
of New Orleans will move forward with its plan to remove the statues,
which will remain in storage until it is decided by a public
committee what to do with them.
Even with the removal of the
statues, New Orleans will still have reminders of the Confederate
leaders in the same places the statutes were erected. The Lee statue
is currently in Lee Circle, and the Davis monument is on the
Jefferson Davis Parkway.
“History continues,” Quigley said.
“The role of the Confederacy will never fade from history. However,
these symbols need not be in prominent positions in our community.
The elected people put them up. Now elected people are taking them
As New Orleans looks to move along from its Confederate
past, it sees now as a time to make this change as the city has
diversified and is looking toward the future.
African-American people have reclaimed the vote and assumed their
rightful share of political authority, there have been talks of
taking these statues down,” Quigley said. “There are still many,
many people whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy and they would
like these symbols to stay up. Others, who are preservationists, want
to preserve all old things. Everyone expressed their views, and this
was the democratic decision.”
It is expected that the removal of
the statues will not be without controversy, as preservationists and
Confederacy supporters are likely to protest their removal from the
“Actually, taking them down will likely spark protests and
counterprotests, but they will come down,” Quigley said.