New Orleans vote 6-1 to topple 'terrorist' statues

Icicles are seen forming on a fountain during winter at Jackson Square Park in New Orleans, Louisiana January 29, 2014. © Jonathan Bachman
One hundred and fifty years after the end of the US Civil War, New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 to remove statues of what some people call pro-slavery “traitors” and others call “Confederate heroes.”

Council President Jason Williams and council members Jared Brossett, Susan Guidry, James Gray, LaToya Cantrell and Nadine Ramsey voted to take the monuments down. Council member Stacy Head was the only vote against the measure.

Thursday's long council meeting drew protesters from both sides and security had to be increased.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been talking about having the symbols removed for about a year, but requested to officially topple the statues a week after the Charleston Church shooting in June.

The massacre caused national uproar over the so-called Confederate symbols across the country.

READ MORE:Statue of Confederate president removed from UT Austin

Landrieu says New Orleans wants to present itself as a city that values culture and diversity, and big places in the city need to be reserved for that.

He suggested the statues be moved to a more suitable space like a museum.

Legendary jazz musician Wynton Marsalis said that Virginian Robert E. Lee, commander of the terrorist Confederate army, in particular has no historic place in the city.

"This symbolic place in our city should represent a great New Orleanian, or it should be an open space that represents our latest prevail and how people helped us, not a person who had nothing to do with our city and who indeed fought against the United States of America and lost," Marsalis told WDSU.

The New Orleans Police Department had a strong presence in council chambers following last week’s discussion which led to at least four people being escorted from the meeting.

As for what happens next, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration has said that a private donor has offered to pay for the monuments' removal but has not said when that will occur or where the monuments will be moved to.

READ MORE: University of Mississippi takes down state flag with Confederate symbol