NEW ORLEANS - Districts "A" through "E" New Orleans City Councilmembers will introduce a motion (M-20-170) during the next regular meeting on Thursday, June 18, establishing the City Council Street Renaming Commission, an advisory committee to run a public process for making recommendations to rename streets, parks, and places in New Orleans that honor white supremacists.
The Commission will consist of nine members with each Councilmember appointing one member who must have a formal or informal background of the history and geography of New Orleans. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Planning Commission will appoint the remaining two members.
The Commission will serve for a full calendar year with the responsibility for making the following recommendations:
- A list of streets, parks, and places that should be renamed, accompanied by a detailed explanation.
- A proposed list of replacement names for each recommended street, park, or place, accompanied by a detailed explanation.
- A process to facilitate both educating residents and receiving public feedback on the proposed changes.
Once members are appointed, the Commission has no more than three months from its first meeting to provide an initial report with its recommendations, and hold a public meeting on that report a month later. The final report incorporating public feedback will be submitted to the Council within six months, and serve as the basis for district Councilmembers to begin the renaming process.
"Constructive conversations -- on any government-related topic -- mean involving the public. The potential for changing street names deserves that same treatment. Each New Orleans neighborhood has its own history and story about how it was influenced. This public process gives neighborhoods a springboard to start having those conversations," said
District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso.
"There are many individuals who have made significant contributions to the quality of life for not only Nee Orleans, but people around the world," said
District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "New Orleans is a city where all are welcome, hatred and discrimination are not tolerated. Renaming Jeff Davis Parkway is just the start and this process will allow an open discussion of all suggested changes."
"The unprecedented peaceful protest movement that has taken to the streets of our city and across the world have made clear that now is the time for action on a large scale. This Commission will allow our city to be both proactive and thoughtful when renaming the streets, parks, and places that heretofore have honored undeserving individuals who worked to uphold racist and divisive ideas. We believe it will be an important step toward embracing diversity, and create a space for healing and reconciliation for everyone, but especially for those underrepresented minority and marginalized groups in our city," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.
"We have come too far as a city to allow ourselves to continue to be silent about the abundance of confederate streets and memorabilia still blatantly displayed throughout our neighborhoods," said District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett. "I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues and end this period of darkness in New Orleans once and for all."
"An initiative of this kind is long overdue, but I am proud to be a part of it. We can no longer live in the shadow of a dark history that glorifies the oppression of people of color. It is time to move beyond our divisive past and work together to build a new, inclusive legacy that highlights the rich cultural fabric of our city," said District "E" Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen.