The three-judge panel for the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on September 28 over whether three controversial monuments should remain standing in the city of New Orleans. Last year, the New Orleans City Council voted to remove the monuments dedicated to Civil War-era Confederate leaders General Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and General P.G.T. Beauregard. The city also voted to remove another monument dedicated to a post-Civil War battle waged by white supremacists over the racial integration of the city’s government and police department. But the Monumental Task Committee, an organization advocating for the Confederate monuments’ preservation, won an injunction in court last year that halted the city from taking them down. The federal appeals court is currently deliberating whether that injunction will stand. Another federal court hearing will decide the ultimate fate of all four monuments, but at a date that’s yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, a coalition of New Orleans activists called Take ‘Em Down NOLA, which is organized around the removal of all monuments to white supremacy, isn’t waiting for the judges’ approval. The group has been instrumental in urging the city to rethink its monuments, and they’ve identified yet another target: a statue in the city that memorializes Andrew Jackson, the U.S. president who was a slave trader and committed genocidal acts against Native Americans.