NEW ORLEANS -- A pro-monument group issued a statement Saturday, voicing their opinion on the city's use of $2.1 million in total to remove four Confederate statues.
"Everyone should be outraged over the Mayor's use of public money when New Orleans has so many pressing needs," read the statement released by the Monumental Task Force (MTC). Prior to the monuments removal, MTC rallied to keep them in place, adding plaques or other signage to educate people on the purpose and history of the statues.
City officials said half of the $2 million was provided by donors and $1.04 million of the monument-removal costs came from budgeted city funds.
"New Orleans is a cash-strapped city with an escalating crime problem and decrepit infrastructure that continues to be neglected, yet Landrieu spent millions of dollars on a politically motivated campaign that divided the city while he removed priceless historic artworks and left eyesores in their places," said Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee. "Instead of tearing down under the false pretense of tolerance and inclusivity, the Mayor could have used this money to restore and maintain dozens of monuments around town and also to add new memorials that would truly show more of our diverse history."
Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni said "racial extremists" forced the city to spend $710,000 on a safety and intelligence contractor named Trident Response Group. Invoices show that Trident, a Dallas-based company, provided advice developing operational plans with consultants charging up to $425 an hour.
Previously, Mayor Mitch Landrieu had said there would be no city funds used the remove the Liberty Place monument and statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis.