New Orleans mayor says Confederate statues "didn't reflect our values"

In our American Voices series, we take a closer look at the national debate of Confederate monuments that's playing out at the local level.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made headlines in May when he led the efforts to remove multiple Confederate statues throughout the city.

"These statues are not just stone and metal. They're not just innocent remembrances of a benign history," Landrieu said in a speech in May. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for."

On "CBS This Morning" Wednesday, Landrieu said New Orleans prides itself on its diversity where everyone is welcome and can enjoy themselves.

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu   

CBS News

"Those monuments have been up there as a testament to, in my opinion, what was a false narrative of history. You have a city that's 67 percent African-American. Individuals have to walk by those statues which are in public places of reverence, and it was just really not who I thought the city of New Orleans was and who we ever were. And so I thought it was important to course-correct history," Landrieu said.

Since Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu said the city has been rebuilding "not the way that she was, but the way she always would have been if we would've gotten it right the first time."

"These individuals put these monuments up because – to honor them for trying to destroy the nation, not to support the nation, to really deny the issues of liberty and justice for everybody not to support it," Landrieu said. "That's not who we ever were in the city of New Orleans. So they didn't reflect our values, and so I thought it was really important that we take them down."

As for what should replace the Confederate monuments, Landrieu pointed to the city's communities.

"I think each community has to construct either monuments or other pieces of art or green spaces that reflect who they are as a people and that celebrate who we are in an affirming way, not a destructive way," Landrieu said.

Watch the video above to see why Landrieu thought President Trump's first U.N. General Assembly address was not helpful for the country.