Commission proposed to rename Gov. Nicholls Street, other city roads following protests

(Photo: Infrogmation | CC)
New Orleans City Councilmembers on Thursday are slated to consider an ordinance that would create a commission to rename certain streets, a proposal that comes amid recent calls from grassroots organizations to remove so-called symbols of white supremacy throughout the city.

The proposed ordinance followed demands by Take ‘Em Down NOLA during a Thursday press conference at City Hall and protest against racism and police brutality held at Duncan Plaza.

The ordinance would create a commission of nine appointed members who will have an advisory role in renaming certain streets, including Governor Nicholls Street, which runs just over a mile and a half from Treme through the French Quarter.

The street was named after Francis T. Nicholls, a Confederate Army general who served two nonconsecutive terms as Louisiana’s 28th governor following the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Other streets targeted for renaming including Claiborne and Tulane avenues, Galvez and Poydras streets and General Taylor Street.

Additionally, Take ‘Em Down NOLA identified several other French Quarter locations it says bear white supremacist names, including statues of Bienville, Edward Douglass White statue, Andrew Jackson, the KIPP McDonogh School for the Creative Arts and a plaque at Washington Artillery Park denoting that its cannon “served the Confederacy in two theaters” of the Civil War.

The council’s virtual meeting can be viewed via live stream here starting at 10 a.m. and public comment can be submitted here.

Body left in Hard Rock Hotel collapse exposed after tarp falls off, then re-covered; Friday protest planned at City Hall

The body of a victim killed by the Hard Rock Hotel collapse was re-covered by a tarp by New Orleans city crews Wednesday after the previous one blew off and exposed the remains.

Photos of the body showing its legs dangling off the side of the collapsed portion of the hotel emerged on social media earlier this week, sparking outrage.

The hotel partially collapsed on the morning of Oct. 12, killing Anthony Magrette, 49; Quinnyon Wimberly, 36; and Jose Ponce Arreola, 63; and injuring dozens more.

The bodies of Wimberly and Arreola are still trapped inside.

In a Facebook post on Jan. 22, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the conditions of the collapse have deteriorated since October, making access to the remains “extremely difficult and very dangerous.”

She added that the body of one victim is embedded in highly unstable debris 11 stories above street level and adjusting the tarp to re-cover the body again a “significant safety challenge.”

A new, yellow-colored tarp was placed over the body by city crews on the same day, according to WVUE.

Shortly before the body was uncovered, Cantrell took to social media to scold those who took pictures of the exposed body.

The outrage was shared across social media, except it was directed at Cantrell and other officials, as well as the owner of the collapsed site, Mohan Kailas.

A protest reportedly organized by Trey Monaghan will organize in front of the collapse site near the corner of Canal and North Rampart streets Friday afternoon, according to The Gambit, and march to City Hall. The protest starts at 3 p.m.

WGNO reported that 1031 Canal Development LLC, which owns the Hard Rock property, said the city has control of the site.

During a Jan. 17 press conference, Cantrell said the building could be demolished as early as March and added that retrieving the trapped bodies is her “top priority.”

D.H. Griffin Companies will be managing the demolition of the hotel, Cantrell said, and is “more than confident” that the contractor can safely implode the building.