NEW ORLEANS - The sometimes hot and sometimes cold battle over the status of three Confederate-era monuments continued over the weekend and figures to continue into the week after a weekend standoff between groups for and against the statues took place around Lee Circle.
Despite the amount of rhetoric, a group of several hundred people who met at the iconic circle were in the minority as most New Orleanians and tourists went about their day at Jazz Fest or elsewhere around town.
Here's where things stand as of Monday morning:
- BREAKING: The Monumental Task Committee says a suit has been filed seeking a temporary restraining order that would prevent removal of the P.G.T. Beauregard monument from City Park. The group says that City Park and not the city of New Orleans owns the statue and the land on which it stands. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has also called on the City Park board to protect the statue.
- Removal of the statues: This is expected to heat up again this week after a planned stoppage of the removals during Jazz Fest. What is not known is when the monuments may come down, whether there will be much warning and what impact it might have on traffic and residents. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said two weeks ago, after the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place in the wee hours, that the other monuments would come down "sooner rather than later." Sooner didn't mean within the last two weeks, but it could mean this week. However, it is not known who might actually do the removal as only one public bidder came forward.
- The legislature: The city appears to be in a race against time as the state House considers a bill that would prevent removal of historic statues. If passed, that bill would likely set up another legal battle over whether the city of New Orleans has the right to remove the monuments.
- The resistance: A small group of people have been holding vigil at the three monuments. This is expected to continue. There is a feeling that the Jefferson Davis Memorial statue could be the next in line to be removed. A contentious standoff last week led to barricades and temporary fencing being placed around the statue.
- The folks who want them removed: Groups of people in favor of removing the statues have become more visible over the past week, initially peacefully protesting against the monument supporters at the Jefferson Davis Memorial, but becoming more contentious the following day. A march to the Lee Circle statue Sunday - attended by approximately 500 people - seemed mostly peaceful. Three arrests were made at the scene, but the NOPD said all of those were made before the Take Em Down group met up with the pro-monument group.
- National media: While very small compared to the massive crowds at Jazz Fest, the images of the protests, complete with Confederate and white supremacy flags and supporters have been getting a good amount of attention by the national media.
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