Landrieu: Price tag for monument removal stands at $600,000

Landrieu: Price tag for monument removal stands at $600,000

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mayor Landrieu said now that three of the four Confederate-era monuments have come down, he's starting to get interest from other municipalities, that have, up to now, been silent.

Landrieu said the threats have continued unabated against those involved in the monument removal.

The PGT Beauregard monument was removed less than 24  hours after black state lawmakers walked out in protest over proposed legislation that would put the removal of military monuments to a vote.

"The Legislature has been considering this since last year," Landrieu said. "You may want to ask the Legislature that's about to pass 2,000 bills why didn't you put it to the public? It's a red herring."

The mayor said now that the statues are down, other municipalities have expressed an interest in acquiring them.

"Originally no one wanted to help. They thought that offering an alternative would have been misconstrued as them being part of the process," Landrieu said.

Landrieu said he will soon announce a process for replacing and relocating the statues, and he said there will be stipulations.

"They need to be put in context," he said. "They have to be put in historical context and we will receive a number of different ideas, and the city will consider that."

The removal process has been costly, involving dozens of police officers who made three arrests Tuesday night. All told, the mayor anticipates removal to cost around $600,000, a price he believes is a bargain compared to the alternative.

"There's a reason why in 1960, New Orleans had 680,000 people, and now Houston and Atlanta dwarf us...they are more inclusive and progressive cities," Landrieu said.

But at this point, the police chief isn't sure if he will seek more money from the city to cover overtime.

"We think there's a cost associated, but we don't think it's much," said New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.

With the largest of the four statues still left to be removed, Landrieu promises to keep the process safe in spite of ongoing threats.

"They continue to this day. One of the most disappointing things we see that after duly elected actions under the  laws, people continue to levy substantial personal and economic threats against everyone involved," Landrieu said.

A  lot of people wonder if the entire Lee Circle monument will come down. The mayor said today, the column will stay and only the statue of General Lee will be removed.

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