Confederate statue removals part of New Orleans mayor legacy


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mitch Landrieu enters his final year as mayor of New Orleans drawing less attention to what’s been built than to what’s been taken down: Century-old landmarks, three honoring Confederate leaders and one heralding white supremacy, have disappeared from the city landscape at his behest.


Emotional debates, state and federal court battles and tense confrontations at monument sites marked the process. The drama played out over the nearly two years since he proposed removing the four monuments. The City Council approved the action in December 2015.

Landrieu won elections in 2010 and 2014 with strong biracial majorities. But he’s limited to two consecutive terms and his political future is cloudy. He’s held statewide office, having been elected lieutenant governor in 2003 and 2007. But, as a Democrat who just enraged die-hard lovers of Confederate iconography, his odds of returning to the statewide scene appear to have dimmed in a reliably Republican state.

“It’s hard to see where he’s going to land after this,” said Edward Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans.

Landrieu’s father, retired state appellate court judge Moon Landrieu, was a two-term mayor in the 1970s who went on to a cabinet post in the Democratic administration of former President Jimmy Carter. Ron Faucheux, a pollster, political consultant and former Louisiana legislator, said Mitch Landrieu might be in line for an administration job should the Democrats retake the White House in 2020.

“His two best options would be Washington or mayor again,” Faucheux said in an email. “Both options are closed out for the next four years.”

Elected less than five years after the catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu succeeded a term-limited Ray Nagin, who presided over a sluggish recovery and later went to prison for corruption.

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