House lawmakers approved House Bill 71 which protects Confederate monuments

Caresse Jackman talks about the ongoing debate over Confederate monuments in the city.

NEW ORLEANS -- With legislation passing through the state house, a petition and constant protests, the battle over the Confederate monuments continues.

When Erin Farthing heard about a petition being started that could possibly save monuments across Orleans Parish, she knew she had to sign it.

"It's a wonderful artwork, and especially Robert E. Lee and Beauregard," Farthing said.

Supporters of the monuments agree.

"We want to draft the measure so that it's not up to the city council to have a biased deal," Charles Marsala, Organizer of Save NOLA Heritage.org said.

Marsala is leading the petition and had people sign up across the street from the P.G.T. Beauregard monument Monday evening.

"We had four attorneys vet this," Marsala said. "Actually, if we win, the city has to put them back up. The way to do this is to get 10,000 signatures from residents who are registered voters in New Orleans, and with that, we can put this on the ballot to have a vote on the monuments." 

The sign up comes the same day a set of barricades appeared outside of the P.G.T. Beauregard statue. Two more monuments, Beauregard near City Park and Robert E. Lee on Lee Circle, are slated for removal.

The Monumental Task Committee, which supports keeping the statues mounted, doe not want to give up without a fight. Richard Marksbury still feels the city does not own the property Beauregard's statue sits on.

"The Beauregard Monument Association asks City Park to build it in a mound," he said. "And pay for a pedestal. And they would give them the monument. And they did. There's no involvement in anywhere in any document. And I've looked through all of them, that mentions the City of New Orleans that mentions the Beauregard monument. Zero." 

Monday, House lawmakers approved House Bill 71, which protects Confederate monuments, taking the decision away from municipal leaders and putting it in the hands of the people for a vote. It's a move several members of the Black Caucus passionately spoke out against.

"It seeks to honor men who shed countless numbers of people's innocent blood all over this country. And it shouldn't matter whether the people looked like me or you," Representative Katrina Jackson (D), District 16, said.

"It's offensive to live in a  city where I've raised my children, where my family is. To have monuments for those who fought for my enslavement," Rep. Gary Carter (D) District 102 said.

That bill now moves on to the senate. Farthing said she hopes it passes, for a history, she says you can't erase.

"If anybody is offended by the monuments, they should look within themselves," Farthing said. "Because that's what you should do. If slavery didn't happen then the Confederate War didn't happen. So, therefore, one complements the other."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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