Streetcar, vehicle traffic return to a much different Lee Circle, where more change will come

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Normal traffic patterns return to Lee Circle, where Mayor Mitch Landrieu says plans are now underway for something new.

But whether for or against the Robert E Lee statue that once stood there, many say the new look, will take some getting used to.

It was the abrupt end to a month long series of monument removals.

Traffic is flowing again, streetcar lines repaired, and life is slowly returning back to normal at Lee Circle.

Normal, but the image will never be the same.

"It absolutely looks weird but it opens the door for something new," said Julianna Padget of New Orleans.

For many at the circle today, mixed reaction to life, without Lee.

"It symbolized slavery and now it's gone, it makes people like me much more eager to come to New Orleans," said New Jersey tourist Keith Hefner.

"It didn't worry me, I never lost sleep over it," said New Orleanian Anthony White.

Lee's statue has been taken to a city storage site, and the mayor says there's been interest in taking him in. The mayor will establish a competitive bid process, to select a new home for the monuments.

"We have been contacted by a number of different entities," said Landrieu.

As for long term plans, the mayor says there will be a process.

"It's been part of our history but it's time to celebrate something new on that pedestal," said Padget.

The remaining base of the Beauregard Statue will be removed, and the City Park improvement association will take a leading role in the replacement.

As for Lee Circle, the city says it will incorporate public art, and a water feature, and design work has already begun.

"We will announce a process to hopefully do something better there," said Landrieu.

While the mayor works on long term plans, others have their own, already in place, at the former site of the Jefferson Davis Statue.

Landrieu says he hopes the changes on the monument site will be completed in 2018, the city's tricentennial.

Eventually, an American Flag will go up where the Jeff Davis statue once stood.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.