Mayor pushes to remove Confederate flag etching on City Hall

Mayor pushes to remove Confederate flag etching on City Hall
FOX 8 Photo
FOX 8 Photo

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Confederate flag engraved near the entrance of City Hall is joining the list of relics Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants out of public view. The flag is a part of a larger mural and represents the time when New Orleans was under the Confederacy's rule. 
The engraving is displayed next to other flags from France, Spain and the United States. But the Confederate engraving digs deep into the beliefs of many.

"I've never noticed it," New Orleans resident Chaudhrye Sarwar said. "But I think it's really important that we remove all these relics of the past and put them in some museum and don't put them on public display as a matter of pride."

Landrieu declined an on-camera interview about the Confederate flag etched on the marble outside his office and released the following statement instead:

"Across our state and our country, there has been broad consensus that confederate flags should not fly over government buildings. Staff is currently researching the history of the etched marble at the entrance of City Hall to determine the process for removing the confederate flag crest, as well as alternatives to represent the Civil War period of our City's history in this mural."

Orleans Parish Councilman James Gray is in favor of taking down the four Confederate monuments in the city, but he does not believe the Confederate engraving should be removed.

"I think it's a real difference in having a mere historical account than having a statue that is set in a place of honor and being maintained by taxpayer dollars," Gray said.

Gray admitted he noticed the flag before but he said it never registered to him the engraving was of a Confederate flag.

Also, the engraving is inaccurate. The etch below the flag reads 1861-1865. The Union Army took back New Orleans from the Confederacy in 1862.

Gray said he supports a discussion about the engraving and fixing the inaccuracy but not removing the entire flag.

"I do think those who argue you can't deny history are absolutely correct. History occurred. It happened, and we're not going to erase history. We can decide who we are going to honor and who we are not going to honor, who represents the values of this city and who don't," he said.

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