Breaking News
More () »

Plan to rename Robert E. Lee Blvd. for Allen Toussaint continues to move forward

"This person’s name has been up on this boulevard to promote segregation and white supremacy. Allen Toussaint was a uniter. He is the perfect choice.

NEW ORLEANS — The renaming of Robert E Lee Blvd. to Allen Toussaint Blvd. took another step as the city planning commission agreed to the change. 

As he sat in his office watching old Allen Toussaint YouTube videos, Mark Raymond smiled and said, “you could almost picture him doing this sitting at a random bar room doing this.” 

Raymond, the vice chair for the City Council Street Naming Commission, says that it took a lot of work from a number of groups to get this done and he’s very proud of the results so far, “when I talk to visitors from this city and they say ‘why is Robert E Lee on the street?’ and they have this weird look on their face, it’s always a strange answer like ‘it’s just New Orleans. Now we get to move away from that legacy.” 

This street renaming process is a part of a city initiative to move past the old confederate south. A trend inspired by a nationwide movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd. 

New Orleans was ahead of this curve when the city council decided to remove the statue from what was then Lee Circle in 2017. 

Removing his name from this street seemed like a natural next step for city council member Jarred Brossett. He said removing Lee’s name from the street is long past due.

"This person’s name has been up on this boulevard to promote segregation and white supremacy. Allen Toussaint was a uniter he is the perfect choice to place upon a public street.”

Especially when that street is so personal to Toussaint himself and his family. 

According to Allison Toussaint-LeBeaux, this home on Robert E Lee where Toussaint had a recording studio, still holds a piece of her late father. 

“Immediately after he passed, there was a tribute at the festival for him. Some various folk came in to rehearse for the festival. Bonnie Raitt was one of those people and when she walked in she took a step at the door and she was like ‘wow I feel his presence everywhere here’ and it’s like that every time I walk in. You can really feel his essence.”  

So, if the name change goes through, Toussaint-Lebeaux says there’s one thing in particular that she will always remember about this process, “that no one let it die once the opposition came in. No one said ‘okay let’s just throw our hands up, let’s not push the issue.’ People stayed with it and believed in it and believed that my father had a place on the street. I am really grateful for that.”

RELATED: Fats Domino among new street, park names approved by City Council

RELATED: NOLA-PS to rename several campuses after prominent figures


Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out