Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration is giving contractors another month to submit bids for taking down the Confederate monuments ordered removed by the City Council last year, a potential sign that the work has not garnered much interest among contractors.
It’s the second time the city has pushed back the deadline for contractors to bid on removing statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard. Bids were initially due on Friday, but the city will now accept them until May 23.
The reason for the delay was not immediately clear, though it suggests the city may still be struggling to find a company to take the job.
A spokesman for Landrieu’s office said the delay was due to a court order requiring City Hall to hold off on removing the monuments as a federal court case plays out. However, the administration did not answer questions about how many bids to remove the monuments have been received so far.
The controversial nature of the job and threats from those who support keeping the statues in place have complicated the removals since the council voted 6-1 in December to remove the three monuments, as well as a fourth celebrating a white supremacist militia that led a violent uprising against the state’s biracial Reconstruction-era government.
The initial contractor hired for the project backed out after the company’s owner reported getting death threats. After he withdrew, his Lamborghini was found burned in the parking lot of his business.
When the city initially put the job out for bid, firms that had viewed the details on the city’s website reported getting harassing calls and emails, as well as boycott threats, prompting the first extension of the deadline for proposals.
The new deadline is unlikely to have much of an impact on the timeline for taking the monuments down; the city is now blocked from removing them by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling requires the city to leave the statues in place until a case brought by supporters of the monuments that seeks to keep them in place permanently can play out in federal district court, something that could take months.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.