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Robert E Lee monument Mardi Gras beads spark controversy

He estimates about 10,000 beads have been produced and that means some of the beads could hit the streets.

NEW ORLEANS – About nine months ago, the city began tearing down several Confederate monuments one after the other.

It was a divisive time in the city and now during Carnival time, Confederate monument beads are popping up along parade routes.

Back in September, Charles Marsala was one of the first to bring attention to a Mardi Gras bead design that says Forever Lee Circle.

It wasn’t until this weekend that the existence of the beads blew up on social media suggesting that it may be a hot item. One Facebook page says it is now sold out.

Marsala is a part of Save Nola Heritage, a group that wants to educate and demand more transparency from the city about what it does with public art, such as monuments. It should be made clear, neither Marsala, or the group sell the beads, however, Save Nola Heritage has received a $500 donation from the sales.

"We spent the money from the bead sales, we put banners on the monument itself. Robert E. Lee's birthday was about two weeks ago,” he said.

Marsala said the beads are not meant to be racist in any way. He wants them to serve as a reminder that Lee Circle still needs attention.

"It should have been done before we have the mayors change office, as to what we are going to do with that area and where the money is going to come from to finish it,” he said.

He estimates about 10,000 beads have been produced and that means some of the beads could hit the streets. So, it is possible someone might catch the beads and that may come as a surprise to parade goers.

"There's not room in our city for that they took them down for a reason,” one man said.

However, others like Andrew Scott said he is tired of the political correctness.

"My reaction would be I'm glad somebody is throwing them and I'd be glad to receive it, Scott said.

Eyewitness News reached out to a couple of well known Krewes and the policy for the most part is that they tell their members to buy logo specific throws, but no ne had an official policy against members bringing their own beads.