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.

City Council postpones January meetings by one week due to cyberattack recovery

New Orleans City Hall. Bart Everson | CC Flickr

The New Orleans City Council postponed both of its January meetings by one week due to the ongoing recovery from a December cyberattack, Councilwoman Helena Moreno said on Monday.

The meetings that were scheduled for Jan. 9 and Jan. 23 will instead be held on Jan. 16 and Jan. 30, respectively.

“We are delaying our regular meetings this month by one week to help give staff more time to prepare material and documents in order to give the public the council meeting they expect,” Moreno said in an emailed statement.

The attack, which occurred on Dec. 13, affected more than 4,000 of the city’s computers and devices, including the city council’s, and severely disrupted the city’s ability to conduct business over the internet and phone.

The attack is under investigation.

By Dec. 23, half of the city’s computers were re-imaged partly due to the assistance of nearly 90 volunteers helping the Information Technology and Innovation team in the response effort, said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

About 15 percent of devices that were affected were deemed damaged and put aside, Cantrell said.

Cantrell estimated the recovery at $792,000, which doesn’t include the cost of replacing some equipment, adding that the total cost may double.

Little by little, nola.gov is coming back online, although access to critical documents and information is still limited for many city departments, boards and agencies, Moreno said.

The City Council will meet briefly on Thursday morning in a special meeting to amend the official calendar and put land use and other legal deadlines on hold due to the “ongoing state of emergency,” Moreno said.

Residents can still make 3-1-1 requests for service; pay sales, use, and parking taxes; and pay parking and camera tickets.

Council offices are open for regular business this week, although access to official emails and documents may be limited, Moreno added.

Regular phone numbers and temporary email addresses have been posted on nola.gov for all council-related inquiries.

The city will continue to release updates and information via Facebook and @NOLACityCouncil on Twitter.