Avery Alexander statue to get a new home

Published: Feb. 5, 2015 at 2:05 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2015 at 2:17 AM CST
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For nearly eight years, New Orleans civil rights leaders have wondered about the status of a statue of a man considered by many to be the city's equivalent to Martin Luther King. Now, the state has a plan to re-install the monument to the legacy of Avery Alexander.

The spot on Duncan plaza sits empty, no sign of the monument that once stood there.

"People across the nation call me all the time and ask me about it," said New Orleans civil rights veteran Skip Alexander.

The statue of Avery Alexander was taken down after Katrina, across from City Hall, at the same time the old state office building was demolished, and hasn't been displayed since.

"It's a shame that our officials haven't moved on that," said the Rev. Marie Galatas.

Alexander was a New Orleans civil rights icon, having been dragged out of City Hall in protest for equal rights in the late 1950s. The statue depicted Alexander pointing toward the City Hall that he helped desegregate.

"No one was dragged up that building in the history of that building," said Skip Alexander.

Avery Alexander's name still hangs over the long-shuttered Charity Hospital, and many believe his legacy deserves better.

"The mayor ought to demand the statue be brought back immediately," said Skip.

We located the statue in a storage space near the lakefront five years ago. The original plan was to return it to Duncan Plaza, but now FOX 8 has learned that it is getting a new home.

"It has now been relocated to the site of the University Medical Center in New Orleans," said Mark Moses with the state Office of Facility Planning.

That office has found a place for it in the sprawling new medical center being built in Mid-City.

"It is the plan to locate the statue in a prominent location in the plaza area leading into the hospital," Moses said.

The state promises to have it re-erected in the next few months. For now, state officials say they don't have plans to name the entire medical center after Avery Alexander, but they do say his memory will be honored.

"There will be a name associated with that entry," said Moses.

Local civil rights leaders and friends of Alexander say it's important to remember his legacy. State officials say Alexander's statue will be place in it's new home, in time for University Medical Center's opening this spring.

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