End of road for Lee Circle statue? New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: It’s time to take down symbols honoring Confederacy _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A diverse group of people in a street car and an advertisement showing diversity passes by Lee Circle honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu made public his support to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle. My feelings are doubtlessly shaped by my education at Washington and Lee University, where Robert E. Lee presided as president after the Civil War during the last five years of his life.

His accomplishments included the establishment of an honor code of conduct, which continued to shape my character after graduating from Jesuit in 1965. During my years at both institutions, the first black Americans were enrolled. Both Lee and George Washington lived on plantations that depended on slave labor, but Lee freed the last slaves at Arlington in 1862.

Lee had a distinguished U.S. military career before the Civil War but made a difficult decision to be loyal to his state of Virginia. We always need to reshape New Orleans for the welfare of all our citizens, but let’s not rush to judgment.

John Carrere

business manager

New Orleans