Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

Lee was taken down and the Circle was to be renamed. Many names were nominated and one cdame to be chosen – Harmony Circle.

New Orleans’ most prominent remaining tribute to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is no more, after the City Council unanimously approved renaming the traffic circle on St. Charles Avenue as “Harmony Circle.” The council’s ordinance Thursday officially changes the name of the park at the center of the circle – where the pedestal which formerly held Lee’s statue still stands. But it does not change the name of the street itself, which was never formally changed from its original appellation of “Tivoli Circle.” The renaming serves as the delayed completion of a process that began when in 2015 when former Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the removal of the Lee statue, along with monuments elsewhere in the city honoring two other Confederate officials and a White supremacist militia. It’s also the capstone on a process the prior City Council began nearly two years ago to remove the names of Confederates and segregationists from New Orleans streets and parks, an effort intended to remove honors from those who fought in the defense of slavery or attempted to oppress Black residents after it ended.

A 5-0 vote with 2 abstentions and now to the Mayor for her approval.

Council member Lesli Harris said the decision to honor Lee at the circle was “part of a clear effort to glorify the Confederacy and perpetuate racial inequality.” The council voted 5-0 in favor of the change, with Council members Freddie King III and Oliver Thomas absent. The change requires Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s approval. While past renamings – and the decision to take down the monuments themselves – featured significant public comments and debate, the final step in Lee Circle’s renaming drew few comments from the public. Of those, most were from those who wanted to ensure the name Tivoli was not removed from the roadway. Council members seemed open to the idea of putting up signage that would make the name Tivoli Circle more prominent.

This ids a hard area to rename as there is convoluted history and the major tourist attractions are the WWII Museum and the Art Museum.

Given its prominence near the boundary of the Warehouse District and the Lower Garden District, Lee Circle has always been the most complicated area to rename. Adding to the complexity is the fact that while the roadway and park have both typically been referred to as Lee Circle, the city only officially recognizes the park by that name. Under the recent street renaming process, numerous suggestions were made for the street, the park or both. An early, split vote by the commission charged with recommending names would have renamed it Leah Chase Circle, for the late, legendary chef. The commission then reversed course, seeking to avoid picking just one person to honor, and went with Harmony Circle. That process began during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality that were sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All told, the renaming commission issued recommendations that 37 streets, parks and other public places be renamed in a final report issued last year. Prior to Thursday’s vote, the council had approved the renaming of three parks and three streets – including changing Robert E. Lee Boulevard to Allen Toussaint Boulevard. That recommendation was then overturned again when the commission settled on Égalité Circle, intended to honor the sentiments behind the French and Haitian revolutions, and sent that suggestion to the City Council. That recommendation was not binding on the council. Harris, whose district includes the circle, picked Harmony Circle when she filed an ordinance last month seeking to complete the renaming. “The name Harmony Circle reflects New Orleans where we work together and all try to make our community whole,” Harris said.

I can live with it but would have prefered that it went to a historical name. But this is an all encompassing name.

Harmony Circle is the new Lee Circle
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