(Correction: The article has been updated to reflect the accurate spelling of McDonogh.)
A group of protesters tore down the John McDonogh bust in Duncan Plaza and threw it in the Mississippi River today – following a “Take Back Pride” motorcade rally, in which hundreds of cars and cyclists protested police violence, systemic racism, discrimination, and capitalism.
Two protesters were arrested, according to a tweet by Take ‘Em Down NOLA.
2 of the brave soldiers that helped got arrested. Support their bail w/ Venmo below: pic.twitter.com/oMwoUuIiia
— takeemdownnola (@takeemdownnola) June 13, 2020
Immediately after their arrest, a crowd of at least one hundred gathered to demand their release. Protesters remained at the corner of Tulane and Broad for hours, as volunteers coordinated feeding efforts.
As evening came, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office refused to free the two protesters until the crowd went home.
“This woman is out here trying to get her kid out,” an anonymous source told Big Easy Magazine. “But they told her, because we are out here, they can’t get out. The cops are using our presence as leverage.”
Although John McDonogh was a notorious slave and plantation owner in New Orleans, Mayor Cantrell made a statement defending the arrests of the demonstrators who removed his bust.
“The City of New Orleans rejects vandalism and destruction of City property. It is unlawful,” she tweeted. The vast majority of replies took the side of the demonstrators.
The City of New Orleans rejects vandalism and destruction of City property. It is unlawful. pic.twitter.com/CcAKfNFK5X
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) June 13, 2020
“For 245 days at least two bodies have been trapped—and occasionally visible from the street—in the city center in a destroyed building,” Twitter user @FictionalBeck replied. “I personally think you should focus your energy on that.”
As of early Sunday, June 14, it is still unclear whether the two arrested demonstrators have been released.
While the New Orleans City Council turns toward removing the many remaining symbols of white supremacy in the city, the message is clear: If they fail to act quickly, the public will.
Author’s Note: In order to protect the protesters from prosecution, Big Easy Magazine will not publish the video of the statue’s removal and destruction.
If you want to contribute to the bail funds of the arrested protesters, you can Venmo the New Orleans Workers Group at @NOWorkersGroup and type “bail” in the description.