Three monuments in New Orleans honoring Confederate leaders could come down by the summer, according to documents released by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration Wednesday.
The administration is formally seeking bids to remove statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard after a previous contractor hired to remove the statues backed out in the face of death threats.
The bid documents do not include the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, a post-Civil War insurrection by a white supremacist militia against the state’s biracial Reconstruction government. That statue is protected by a court order issued after an attempt to remove it decades ago, and the city needs to have that order lifted before it can move forward.
The city is giving bidders until March 29 to submit proposals on the three statues, requiring that the job be completed within 45 days of a contractor’s being selected. The documents do not shed any light on the ultimate fate of the monuments, though they say the city will arrange a police escort to assist in transporting them to a city facility.
Landrieu’s administration has said the statues will be stored in a city warehouse until a permanent location for them can be found. The mayor has floated the idea of transferring the statues to a private park, but those plans haven’t been fleshed out, at least publicly.
The removal of the statues, which the administration has estimated will cost about $170,000, is being paid for by an anonymous private donor, with the money funneled through the Foundation for Louisiana.
The City Council voted 6-1 in December to allow the four monuments to be removed from public view. That vote prompted a pair of lawsuits seeking to keep them in place, though city officials won the initial round in both cases.
Initially, the city had selected a contractor from a pool of companies that are pre-approved for relatively small city jobs. That contractor, H&O Investments of Baton Rouge, backed out after its owner and employees received death threats. Shortly thereafter, the owner’s Lamborghini was found torched in the parking lot of the business.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.