House Bill could stop removal of Confederate monuments

Kristin Pierce talks about House Bill 71 and what it may mean for New Orleans.

BATON ROUGE -- A new bill proposal could stop the removal of three Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

The Louisiana Military Memorial Conservation Act is making its way in front of lawmakers.

The bill would protect military memorials on public property from being altered, removed, relocated or destroyed. The only way any of that could happen is if there's a majority vote by residents during an election if the bill passes. 

"I've been on record from day one to have a vote. Day one, should have a vote," said Rick Marksbury with the Monumental Task Committee. 

Not everyone agrees. 

"Courts have said it's a local issue," said Malcolm Suber with Take 'Em Down NOLA. "Courts have said this is New Orleans property and New Orleans can do with this property whatever it wants to do." 

After a lengthy battle in court, the City of New Orleans was granted permission to remove four Confederate monuments on city property. Statues of  P.G.T Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee are still up. Liberty Place Monument was removed last month and since then, things have really heated up.

"Our message is that we want to rid the city of all remnants of white supremacy," said Suber.

That's the message from Take 'Em Down NOLA. On the other side is the Monumental Task Committee. That group says it's about education, making sure to distance themselves from protesters with Confederate flags.

"It's a shame," said Marksbury. "Our city is noted for not having this type of racial tension and people from both sides are coming in and the depiction is not very accurate. Our goal is to educate people why these things were wrong, why the battle was wrong but not to take things down that are up."

To some, these monuments are not representatives of the past.

"Statues are not history; written word is history. These are representations of people that they wanted to aggravate and so we're opposed to that," argued Suber. 

What the two groups aren't opposed to is bringing back peace to the City of New Orleans. 

"Bring back peace into our city because it's horrible right now. It's a divisive city right now," said Marksbury. 

House Bill 71 is not yet scheduled for floor debate. 

WWL-TV reached out to the City of New Orleans. Representatives in the Communications Department said the city is moving forward with its plans to remove the remaining three Confederate monuments as soon as possible. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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