Federal lawsuit filed to stop removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is perched atop monument in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Story highlights

  • Federal lawsuit seeks to stop removal of Confederate monuments
  • New Orleans City Council approved removals in 6-1 vote
  • Monuments called "nuisances" by Mayor Mitch Landrieu

(CNN)Just hours after a vote to remove Confederate monuments in New Orleans, a federal lawsuit sought to stop the action.

The New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to take down the statues of Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, and of former President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis.
An obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place is also on the removal list.
    Thursday night, a federal lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by three historic preservation societies and the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
    Mayor Mitch Landrieu and The City of New Orleans are named as defendants in the case along with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Authority.
    The lawsuit says three of the monuments are key destinations of the New Orleans streetcar line, which is planned, funded, constructed and maintained by the defendants -- and are protected under National Registrar of Historic Places regulations.
    The monument marking the Battle of Liberty Place, which was moved to its current location using federal money, is also protected according to the lawsuit.
    Mayor Landrieu said the church slayings in Charleston, South Carolina moved him to start the monument removal process. A white gunman in South Carolina massacred black worshippers on June 17. Dylann Roof, the shooter, venerated the Confederate battle flag.
    Afterward, a nationwide discussion centered on Confederate monuments removal -- most of them are located in the southern United States.
    New Orleans, which was the Confederacy's largest city, surrendered in 1862 and was under Federal occupation beyond the Civil War's end in 1865.