Beauregard statue supporters file new lawsuit to halt removal

Beauregard statue supporters file new lawsuit to halt removal

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - One day after one of the largest protests yet over Confederate-era monuments, supporters announced a new approach to saving the PGT Beauregard statue at the entrance to City Park.

Members of the Monumental Task Committee gathered at the park to say they were filing a new lawsuit which they hope will have a different outcome.

The committee went to Civil Court armed with new documents which they say show that the city has no authority to remove the Beauregard statue.

"There's no hard evidence that the city owns the monument or the land. The act of sale is the act of sale," said Richard Marksbury, who  said because the statue is on City Park property, the city has no right to tear it down.

He said when the monument was erected, there was no Wisner Boulevard - it was all City Park land. And he said City Park gave the city the right to use land for the road, but still retains ownership.

"We're in court to see what happens. If not, I'll go to the Fourth Circuit and see if we can do something," Marksbury said.

Surrounding him were descendants of Beauregard who support the lawsuit, insisting that the statue is listed on the National Register as being situated on private - not public - property.

A federal court has already rejected a private ownership claim, but supporters of the new lawsuit, armed with new ownership documents, hope for a different outcome.

"Judge Barbier may have been acting on insufficient information," said Marksbury.

Monument supporters are also hopeful that a new letter from the state's lieutenant governor might make a difference.  A strongly worded letter from Billy Nungesser urges Steve Pettus, the head of the City Park Improvement Association, to notify the mayor by the end of the day of CPIA's ownership of the monument and it's objection to its removal.

"It's a historical artifact that needs to be preserved for the city and the country," said Weber.

City Park CEO Bob Becker released the following statement: "We have not had the opportunity to review the allegations in the lawsuit, but we have instructed our attorneys to immediately review same."

The city released the following statement: "These matters have been litigated and decided both in State and Federal courts.  At this point, the Monumental Task Committee's time would be better spent working to find a museum or private land where these statues can be displayed in context rather than continuing to fight a lost cause."

A hearing on the suit is set for Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.