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.

Thousands gather in Jackson Square to protest police brutality following George Floyd killing

(Photos: New Orleans Police Department, Contributed)
Thousands gathered to protest against police brutality in the French Quarter on Friday following the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest on May 25.

The incident was captured on a viral cell phone video and subsequently spawned several rounds of protests in New Orleans and many more that continue throughout the world more than two weeks after Floyd’s death.

Protesters gathered in front of St. Louis Cathedral early Friday evening and the crowd continue to grow for several more minutes until it expanded onto Decatur Street and Washington Artillery Park, where the main gathering was held.

The peaceful gathering lasted for approximately two hours and included numerous public speakers who decried racism and police violence.

A second gathering of protesters marched peacefully through the French Quarter on Saturday, walking down Esplanade Avenue to North Rampart Street before dispersing at Bienville Street.

In anticipation of the gatherings, the city closed access to Jackson Square proper, which contains the statue of Battle of New Orleans General and seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

The Jackson statue had been the target of Take ‘Em Down NOLA, an activist group that advocates for its removal because its symbolization of white supremacy.

Additionally, several businesses were seen boarded-over, although it was difficult to tell whether it was because of Tropical Storm Cristobal or to prepare in the event the protest devolved into civil unrest.

But despite the rumors of possibly violence or civil unrest in the French Quarter, no such incidents were reported and the NOPD thanked demonstrators for the peaceful protest.

The NOPD closed most of Decatur Street, except for a portion in between Toulouse and Dumaine streets in order to accommodate the protest. Hardly any police were seen, a contrast from last Wednesday’s confrontational protest on the Crescent City Connection Bridge.

The June 3 large group of protesters gathered on Highway 90 and attempted to cross the bridge over the Mississippi River before the NOPD deployed tear gas and other non-lethal ammunition.

Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc rolls through French Quarter on Jan. 6

Margarita Bergen via Facebook.

The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc, a Mardi Gras parade inspired by France’s Joan of Arc, will usher in the beginning of the Carnival season on the evening of Jan. 6 in the French Quarter.

This year, the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc will begin its procession at 7 p.m. sharp at Bienville and N. Front streets.

Read: Mardi Gras season begins Jan. 6 with Phunny Phorty Phellows street car ride from Uptown to the French Quarter

The krewe commemorates Joan of Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans, a peasant woman whose divine visions inspired a French victory over the English for control of France during the Hundred Years’ War in the Middle Ages.

Claiming to be guided by divine visions, Joan of Arc convinced a desperate King Charles VII of France to allow her to tag along with a relief army to the besieged city of Orleans in April 1429, according to historians.

Her mere presence is often credited for inspiring the liberation of the city from the English a week later and subsequently helping the French win several more battles.

The 2020 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc parade starts 7 p.m. sharp at the corner of Bienville and North Front streets | joanofarchparade.org.

The teenage Joan of Arc was captured by the English at the Siege of Compiegne in May 1430, tried for heresy and eventually executed by getting burned at the stake one year later.

Shortly before the krewe begins its walk, New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer will read a proclamation at the parade’s starting point at 6:45 p.m.

Recognizing its connection to New Orleans, France gifted the city with a gilded statute of Joan of Arc at the intersection of Decatur and North Peters streets in 1972.

The first Joan of Arc krewe paraded in 2009.

The Joan of Arc parade route will proceed northwest down Bienville Street before hooking a right on Chartres Street. A brief stop will be made between The Historic New Orleans Collection and Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in New Orleans, on the balcony of the Williams Research Center at 400 Chartres Street.

Three blocks later, a sword blessing will occur at Saint Louis Cathedral by the Very Reverend Father Philip G. Landry.

The parade continues three blocks later before making a right at Ursulines Street, then another right one block later at Decatur Street.

One half block later, the parade will pause briefly at the Joan of Arc statue to sing happy birthday before continuing down Decatur Street to Washington Artillery Park where there will be a crowning of the king of the krewe along a king cake ceremony.

Individuals are encouraged to bring their own king cakes to share with others in the parade.