On December 17th, 2015 the New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 to remove four historical monuments built 100-135 years ago. Mayor Landrieu announced the removal of the monuments would happen within days.
The meeting was emotional with the crowd participating by cheering speakers in favor, jeering speakers opposed, and chanting "No Justice- No Peace!!". The City Council did not allow a 10 minute response to Mayor Landrieu's 10 minute presentation to remove the monuments.
However four long established Louisiana Non-Profits expecting the vote in favor of removal, already had a law suit drafted, and filed it within hours, stopping Mayor Landrieu's actions for removal.
The four 501(c)(3) Plaintiff's in the case are Beauregard Camp No. 130 established in 1899, Louisiana Landmarks Society established in 1950, Foundation for Historical Louisiana established in 1963, and Monumental Task Committee established in 1989.
The lawsuit has twelve causes of actions, in general the case claims that a city council can not write ordinances which overrule Federal and State Law. Absent during the City Council debate process was any council member asking the City Attorney for an opinion in public regarding Federal and State's Laws which might be violated.
The lawsuit specifies the Federal and State laws the City Council is violating to remove the monuments.
The First Cause of Action challenges violations of Department of Transportation Act (DOT) 49 U.S.C.* 101. At issue is the spending of private funds to remove the monuments to the detriment of the New Orleans Street Car Line and other Federal Transportation project. Specifying that a review under 49 U.S.C.* 303 is required for harming the natural beauty of countryside, including historic sites.
The Second Cause of Action sites violations of the National Historic Preservation Act, 54 U.S.C. * 300101, 306108, & 300320.
The Third and Fourth Causes specify that relief is warranted per 5 U.S.C. * 702 and 42 U.S.C. * 1983.
The Fifth Cause of Action concerns Liberty Monument and claims it is protected via res judicata under a civil settlement from a 1992 case: "Schubert v. Kemp, et Al. No.91-cv-04446.
The Sixth Cause of Action states removal would be a violation of the Veterans Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act 18 U.S.C. *1369, which states it is a criminal offense to willfully injure or destroy any structure, statute or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person in the Forces of the United State's.
The Seventh Cause of Action states that the City Attorney failed to notify as required under City Code *146-611 an action seeking removal of Liberty Monument.
Lee, Davis, and Beauregard were all veterans of the US Army and served in the Mexican-American #War.
The Eight Cause of Action states that the Council discriminated by not reviewing other monuments under the same criteria for removal including Andrew Jackson and the Buffalo Soldiers Monuments thus violating the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C.1983.
The Ninth Cause of Action cites the State of Louisiana Constitution Section 146-611, which gives the people the right to preserve, foster, and promote historic cultural origins.
The Tenth and Eleventh Causes of Action state New Orleans is not the full owner of the land as the city transferred the land of the monuments to various non-profits.
The Twelfth Cause of Action challenges the Mayor's plan to use a private donation to remove the monuments as there is no check and balance and a violation of City Code * 146-611(b) (3).
Liberty Monument reads: "A conflict of the past that should teach us lessons for the future." #Government