Tourists weigh in on Liberty Place monument removal; tourism entity monitors social media

Tourists weigh in on Liberty Place monument removal; tourism entity monitors social media

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As the city made national headlines for beginning to remove segregation-era monuments, tourists weighed in and a tourism marketing entity said it is paying close attention to social media comments.

"Personally, I think it makes me feel a little bit better. You don't want to honor something that is sort of a negative part of history. Give everyone a chance to move forward," said tourist Adrienne Reina.

"I don't think that should be done at all. They're trying to do that a lot of places with a lot of things. It's part of history, it should not be moved," said Ron Hardesty of Kentucky, who is visiting New Orleans.

"I think it's a good idea to take that away and not promote or glorify something that was a poor part of the past, so yeah, I think its a good thing," said tourist Barbara Cole.

Hardesty said although he doesn't like that the city has begun removing statues like the Battle of Liberty Place, he said that is not enough to keep him from returning to New Orleans, a city he lived in for several years.

"No, I would never stay away from New Orleans, I just hate that they're making historic changes. It's not right," Hardesty said.

"We are monitoring the social media conversations that occur as we would normally do on a daily basis. We do each and every day of our work here to get a sense of what people are saying or thinking about New Orleans. Overall, we think that the impact will be minimal on the overall tourism numbers for our city," said Mark Romig with the New Orleans Marketing Corporation.

Beside the Liberty Place monument, the city wants to remove three other Confederate-era statues. Romig said the agency did some social media monitoring when the debate over the city's monuments began more than a year ago.

"This has been obviously out in the public conversation about a year in a half, and like any other major news story that is affecting New Orleans, people like to express their opinions and talk about it. ...And obviously that's important for us to be able to understand people's thinking about certain issues. But overall, we continue our positive message about New Orleans as very diverse and full of richness, music and jazz and architecture and history that dates back almost 300 years, and that's the positive message that we will continue to be putting forth to the nation," said Romig.

After the racially charged massacre inside Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church in South Carolina, the state decided to remove the confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol. And in some states, the debate has moved beyond statues and flags to whether or not the design of license plates should be changed.

"Overall, we believe we will continue to move forward as one city as we always have," said Romig.

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