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Cyclists will travel through New Orleans to protest racist street names

The City Council has begun the process to rename Jeff Davis. and forming a committee to look at renaming places named afteer white supremacists
Credit: AP
A man raises his fist during a rally outside Jackson Square in New Orleans, Friday, June 5, 2020, protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS —

Protesters will cycle from the French Market to Mid-City on Tuesday to draw attention to their efforts to rename some streets in the city.

Members of the A.P. Tureaud Legacy Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the French Market and end at Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway.

The group is pushing to get Jefferson Davis Parkway, named for the lone president of the Confederacy, renamed to Norman Francis Parkway. Francis was president of Xavier University of Louisiana for nearly 50 years.

The committee also wants to see Robert E. Lee Boulevard renamed to honor chef Leah Chase.

It said it will cycle through the city every week until the Nov. 3 election.

The City Council has begun the process to rename Jeff Davis. It is working to form a committee that would look at renaming streets, parks and other places named after white supremacists.

“We don’t need a new investigation; we know where the streets are; we know where the monuments are and an overwhelming majority of New Orleanians want the streets renamed, so let’s start the process now,” the committee said in a prepared statement.

There is renewed debate about renaming streets or taking down statues in the city as protests have grown in the weeks since a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Take ’Em Down Nola, which advocated for removing Confederate statues in New Orleans in 2017, has said it wants even more statues to come down, and it said its members would do that themselves if the city doesn’t move fast enough.

Protesters on Saturday used rope and a chisel to remove a statue of John McDonogh from its pedestal in Duncan Plaza. They later rolled it into the river.

Police arrested two men for taking down the statue.

On Sunday, a group of men were recorded taking the McDonogh bust from the river. Mayor LaToya Cantrell has said the city does not know who the men are.

A City Hall spokesman told The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate that officials consider the missing bust stolen.

McDonogh was slave owner who left most of his fortune to New Orleans and Baltimore to build public schools.

A factor such as that should be considered for someone like McDonogh, argues Charles Marsala, an author and historian.

Marsala is also advocating for putting up markers or statues to honor others. One example is P.B.S. Pinchback, the first black governor of Louisiana, who was from New Orleans.

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