*The New Orleans City Council voted Thursday to remove four monuments to the Confederacy: statues of Gens. Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederacy president Jefferson Davis, as well as an obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place.
A large crowd attended the session in council chambers and broke into cheers after the 6-1 vote, reports the AP.
The vote follows the trend in many Southern states to take down the Confederate flag in the wake of nine black worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina being shot and killed by a white gunman on June 17. Dylann Roof, the shooter, revered the Confederate flag.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he’d been thinking about having the symbols removed for about a year before the church shootings, which finally became his tipping point. A week later, he announced the planned ordinance.
According to a City Hall press release, Landrieu said before the meeting: “As we approach the Tricentennial, New Orleanians have the power and the right to correct historical wrongs and move the City forward. The ties that bind us together as a city are stronger than what keeps us apart.”
Council President Jason Williams said, “After a long and thoughtful debate on this issue, I am pleased that we have reached a conclusion. Thank you to all citizens who have participated and made your voices heard during this process. We all may have differing perspectives, but share a common love and concern for the City of New Orleans.”
The ordinance approved by the council declares the Confederate monuments “nuisances” and calls for them to be removed. Landrieu requested the vote to banish specters of racism.
The statues are unconstitutional, said the proposed ordinance marked Calendar No. 31,082.
“They honor, praise, or foster ideologies which are in conflict with the requirements of equal protection for citizens as provided by the constitution and laws of the United States, the state, or the laws of the city and suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over another.”