NEW ORLEANS -- Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says Mayor Mitch Landrieu is moving too slowly in starting a bid process for governments and non-profits to buy the Confederate monuments the city took down last month.
Nungesser wants to bid on the monuments on behalf of the state and let a committee of university professors decide on where they should go next.
"I believe to take five African-American historians from black colleges and five white historians from white colleges and come together and decide where we can put them that won't be offensive and have historical value, like a battlefield or wherever," Nungesser said.
When asked to clarify what he meant by "white colleges," Nungesser said, "Well, any of the colleges, you know what I'm saying."
Nungesser previously met with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss what will be done with the Confederate monuments.
“I know it belongs to the city of New Orleans, but it also belongs to the people of Louisiana and it also has historical value,” Nungesser said. “Good or bad it has value. And where do we stop? Where do we stop taking down monuments and things even though some of the history is bad history we can’t continue to destroy history.”
The city is coming up with a process to evaluate offers for the Liberty Place, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee monuments. The City Park Improvement Association is still working out ownership issues for the P.G.T. Beauregard monument.
The selection process would require public bids only, and nonprofit and public entities can only submit their request. They must be displayed in historical context and cannot be displayed outdoors on public property in Orleans Parish.
With public funds scarce, Nungesser said the legislature will most likely turn to private donors to help raise the funds to bid on the statues. His fear is that someone may make a high bid in the interest of seeing the statues destroyed, hidden or tucked away on private property for their own financial interests.
“If somebody turns in a high dollar bid and the decision is made to give (that monument) to someone who doesn’t have the same objective as myself, and the people concerned about preserving the monuments in some fashion, then it’s out of our hands,” Nungesser said.