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"Battle of Liberty Place Monument" Momuments/Statues Tip by Ewingjr98

Momuments/Statues, New Orleans: 9 reviews and 14 photos


Hidden on a small side street, near the Audubon Aquarium and One Canal Place is a hidden monument in the form of an obelisk. The area is often a resting spot for homeless but few others. What is this impressive but secluded monument so close to the tourist areas, but so far off the beaten path?

This is called the Battle of Liberty Place Monument, named for a skirmish in on 14 September 1874. There was a war in 1874? Yes... sort of. This post-Civil War battle was fought between the Crescent City White League and the New Orleans Metropolitan Police. These are not armies I've heard of.... No you probably haven't heard of these armies in this battle. The Battle of Liberty Place was a battle between white Democrats, many of whom were Confederate War veterans, and the reconstruction-era Republicans who were made up of many northerners and blacks.

The conflict was fought over the disputed gubernatorial election of 1872, in which a Republican claimed victory. The white democrats refused to accept this result and they formed the White League to replace the governor with a Democrat. On 14 September 1874 about 5,000 well-armed White League men squared off against 3,500 police and state militia. The police and militia were soundly defeated, with about 100 dead on both sides, and the Democrat took over as governor, but only until the Federal government sent in troops to restore the elected government.

In 1891, Battle of Liberty Place monument was erected by a newly elected Democrat-controlled state government, which was also opposed to blacks rights. The monument was erected to "commemorate the uprising" and was placed in the median on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. In the 1970s, the inscriptions on the plaque were modified to show a more neutral stance on the event, and in 1989, the monument was finally removed during work on Canal Street. After much debate over the appropriateness of the monument, it was eventually placed in a less visible location, where it remains today, still occasionally evoking controversy.

Of note, the monument inscriptions indicate that the monument now stands "in honor of those Americans on both sides who died in the Battle of Liberty Place," from the White League, police, and military. Another inscription sagely notes that the Battle of Liberty Place was "A conflict of the past that should teach us lessons for the future."

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  • Updated Oct 18, 2011
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