Battle of Liberty Place

On September 14, 1874,

what became known as the Battle of Liberty Place was fought between militant conservative Democrats known as the White League and Federalist forces led by the Municipal Police. As historian Justin Nystrom has written, the event effectively brought an end of Reconstruction policies in Louisiana.

After the contested gubernatorial election of 1872, in which Democratic-Conservative John McEnery was defeated by the Republican ticket headed by US Senator William Pitt Kellogg, the White League planned on a military operation to replace Kellogg with McEnery.

The main battle led to a 3-day period in which the White League controlled New Orleans.

An angry President Grant ordered the US Army to force the League to surrender. Not wishing conflict with the federal government, three days after the League’s victory, it handed control of the city to federal troops, who in turn gave control back to Kellogg.

The event also helped to return white Southern Democrats to power in the city. In 1891, a monument was erected on Canal Street to honor the White League. In 2017, the City of New Orleans removed the monument placed it in storage.

Election Controversy and the Rise of the White League

The Battle of Liberty Place, which took place on September 14, 1874, exemplified the hostility that existed in Reconstruction-era New Orleans between the old social order on one side and so-called "carpetbaggers" and native Republicans on…

Government Forces and Fighting on Canal Street

On September 14, 1874, Reconstruction forces prepared to defend the state government and, most importantly, Governor Kellogg from the White League. Though the state used the St. Louis Hotel on Royal Street as its government building, Kellogg took…

The Creation of the Battle of Liberty Place Monument

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…

Protest and Removal of Battle of Liberty Place Monument

Taken off the street in 1965 because of construction in the area, the Battle of Liberty Place monument returned in time for the anniversary of the battle in 1970. Around this time, the typical September 14th ceremony consisted of a wreath-laying…