Many people still don’t know that ‘New Orleans’ was already a place, a place with a name, before the first Europeans set sail for the area.Jeffery U. Darrensbourg, Ph.D., Tribal Councilperson and enrolled member of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation
First, I am an advocate for a complete name change. That is to say, if we are to change the name, let’s change it in its entirety. My suggestion is that “circle” be replaced by “way”. We should commit to erasing the racism associated with Lee Circle entirely.
The significance of the term: Bulbancha is the place of many languages or tongues. Still today there are at least one hundred languages spoken in New Orleans. It was the original name of the greater New Orleans area. The term is older than the city of New Orleans itself and commemorates the merging of at least forty different native groups. In this new era of creating equity and dismantling systemic racism, it is time to come full circle and remember those who have paved the way to make New Orleans what it is today.
The significance of the location: What was previously known as Lee Circle still serves as a link between the uptown and downtown of New Orleans. This location could even be considered a gateway into the city. We should recognize and capitalize on its geographical significance. As we seek to be an anti-racist city, we seek to build upon our desire to promote and build up the “link” between the diverse communities of the city of New Orleans. Therefore, as a diverse city, it is an ideal location to announce to all that we stand for. This location is a hub from which roads go out to all areas of our diverse city. Understanding the meaning behind the name and the concept of the term Bulbancha add to its geographical and cultural significance. This should be our starting point for renaming every other street, park and place. In my opinion this location is too important to be given an ambiguous and/or vague term or the name of an individual person.
The Vision: To create a place that celebrates the diversity, past and present, of New Orleans. I imagine something fluid, not a single stone monument. Perhaps something with trees and with flags to represent all nations and cultures that have endured white supremacy.
Pastor Gregory Manning