Removal of Monuments by Anonymous Group
It appears that New Orleans city officials are preparing to move forward despite a federal lawsuit seeking to block the removals.
James Karst, an editor and columnist for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, photographed a work crew Monday (Jan. 11) as they inspected the statue of Jefferson Davis in Mid-City. A spokesman for the city said the crew was measuring the statue in preparation for its removal, should the city prevail in the litigation.
A quartet of plaintiffs, led by the Monumental Task Committee, sued to block the city immediately after the Dec. 17 decision by the City Council to declare the monuments nuisances and have them removed.
An unknown donor will pay to remove the monuments, and will remain anonymous by giving the money to a private foundation that will then pay the money to the city.
Contrary to the various claims set out in the lawsuit, the city said it has the right to determine what statues sit on public property; that the National Register of Historic Places does not shield the monuments in question from removal; and that federally funded streetcar improvements nearby do not entitle the monuments to stringent federal historic protection standards.The city also rejects the idea that the Monumental Task Committee, one of the named plaintiffs, has gained partial ownership of the statues because the group’s volunteers have done restoration work on them.