The Creation of the Battle of Liberty Place Monument
Stop 3 of 4 in the Battle of Liberty Place tour
Stop 2 of 4 in the Confederate Monuments in New Orleans tour
In September 1874, just two days after what would become known as the Battle of Liberty Place, the Daily Picayune suggested the creation of a monument to commemorate the event. In 1882 the city set aside land for a marker. Finally, in 1891, the monument materialized due to the efforts of a group called the Fourteenth of September Monument Association and the Women's Auxiliary Committee, both of which were founded in 1886. Most of the men in the group were former Confederates, including William J. Behan, who had served as mayor in the 1880s.
On September 14, 1891, monument advocates laid the cornerstone for the monument to the White League's dead on Canal Street. The 35-foot-tall obelisk was made of granite from Maine and built by Charles A. Orleans, designer of many ornate tombs in Metairie Cemetery. On the following day, the stone laying appeared on the front page in the Daily Picayune, which reported the attendance of a large crowd honoring the surviving White League combatants. The ceremony included the Louisiana militia and military bands as well as several speakers. Such commemorations continued for years, depicting the White Leaguers as heroes and martyrs.
In 1932, the city government appeared to renew its interest in the monument by reconstituting its board of commissioners and adding a new plaque. The commissioners were to be either participants in the battle or their descendants. The new plaque directly linked the monument to white supremacist attitudes, stating:
"McEnery and Penn having been elected governor and lieutenant-governor by the white people were duly installed by this overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers, Governor Kellogg (white) and Lieutenant-Governor Antoine (colored). United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state."