(CN) – New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked the city council to begin the legal process to have four public monuments commemorating the Civil War and its aftermath declared public nuisances and torn down.
Landrieu made the formal request in a letter to City Council President Jason Williams on Wednesday. In it, the mayor requests the council hold a meeting to determine how and when the monuments can be removed.
He was also scheduled to speak to the council on Thursday.
The monuments in question are a statute of Robert E. Lee in the city’s Lee Circle, a statute of Jefferson Davis on Jefferson Davis Parkway, the PGT Beauregard equestrian statute at the entrance of City Park, and the Battle of Liberty Place monument on Iberville Street near the city’s riverfront.
Landrieu wants the council to exercise its authority under a 1993 ordinance that allows it to declare monuments public nuisances that need to be removed.
Under the law, a monument can be declared a nuisance if it engenders a message at odds with federal and state equal rights protections, has been or could potentially be the site of violent demonstrations, or simply is cost-prohibitive to maintain.
Under the law, one a request to remove a monument is made, a public hearing must be held and input sought from the Historic District Landmarks Commission and other city agencies.
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