Confederate monument supporters not optimistic ahead of Thursday's vote

RAW: Council members express thoughts on monuments

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Those pushing to keep New Orleans' Confederate monuments where they stand are hopeful about Thursday's council meeting - but not optimistic.

"That seems to be the general feeling because it's only been two council members who have come out in opposition to the mayor," Monumental Task Committee member Pierre McGraw said.

McGraw's group has fought to keep the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and Liberty Monuments up since Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced he wanted to remove them from public view. Landrieu voiced his opposition at a July council meeting after a young man with racial prejudice killed nine people in a South Carolina church.

"How can we inspire a nation when our most cherished public spaces are dedicated to those who held in bondage our fellow Americans?" Landrieu asked the council on July 9.

That message from the top leaves McGraw preparing for possible defeat. There are seven members on the council, and the ordinance only needs four votes to pass. When asked if his supporters would take legal action, McGraw did not say if that option was something his group is considering.

"We are really limited on our options of what we can do. If in fact the council votes this down, we are putting our best foot forward tomorrow. We are going to stay with the strong points of our discussion, and we're hoping better minds prevail tomorrow," McGraw said.

The council meeting begins Thursday at 10 a.m.

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