NEW ORLEANS — The outcry for change across the U.S. has manifested in New Orleans into renewed calls for the removal of President Andrew Jackson's statue in Jackson Square.
In recent years, New Orleans has taken steps to remove symbols of the Confederate-era. In 2017, under former Mayor Mitch Landrieu, four confederate monuments were taken down across the city amid heated protests that drew national attention.
That effort was spearheaded by the organizations Take Em Down NOLA, who says the four removals are just the tip of the iceberg in casting out symbols they classify as honoring white supremacy, violence and slavery.
One of their main calls for removal, then and now, is that of Jackson's statue in the heart of the French Quarter.
Jackson has long been a hero in Southeast Louisiana lore for his victory against the British during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. As the seventh President of the United States, he defined an era with his ideal of Jacksonian Democracy.
Like the first dozen U.S. presidents other than John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Jackson was also a slave owner.
He owned as many as 160 slaves, and engineered the Indian Removal Act that led to the forced removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears.
As other cities across the U.S. tear down status of confederates, Christopher Columbus and others steeped in white supremacy, Take Em Down NOLA said Jackson is the first figure they want removed.
"If people were to think of Jews from the Holocaust, there's not a Jewish grandmother out there that allow a statue of Hitler to be in front of her grandchildren on a day-to-day basis - or have a school to be named after any of his allies, or any of the streets named after them. Because symbols matter," one member said.
Take Em Down NOLA leaders say they will urge the New Orleans City Council to remove the statue by the end of the month.
The group also wants to rename streets, parks and schools that are named after confederate-era leaders, which the New Orleans City Council could soon be on board with.
Next week, council members will introduce a proposal that would create a committee to make recommendations to rename places in New Orleans that honor white supremacists.
The group hopes to work with the council to help with the renaming process and figure out what would replace the statues in question. A number of council members have said they support changing the names.
The council will start the proposal to create the committee during a meeting next Thursday.
The outcry for change across the country comes from a long history of oppression against the African-American community.