A New Orleans road named after the former president of the Confederacy will be renamed next year to honour a local civil rights leader and longtime president of a historically black university, the City Council has decided.
Jefferson Davis Parkway will become Norman C. Francis Parkway in January.
Mr Francis was the first black graduate of the law school at Loyola University of New Orleans.
The street being named for him runs by Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically black university that was founded by Catholic nuns.
Mr Francis served as Xavier’s president from 1968 until 2015.
The vote to rename the street was seven to none, with council members, meeting online, expressing their happiness that the honour was being bestowed on Mr Francis, 89, while he is alive to see it.
Members also made clear they will be looking at other streets and memorials that honour Confederates.
“We have a duty collectively, not just in silos, to look at other streets that we know are problematic,” council member Joseph Giarrusso III said.
The vote came more than three years after workers removed statues honouring Davis and Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard from prominent places on the city landscape.
That was the culmination of a nearly two-year legal battle waged by people arguing that the statues honoured Southern heritage.
Then-mayor Mitch Landrieu drew blistering criticism from supporters of Confederate memorials and iconography when he led that effort, which gained steam after the murder of nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church.
The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos.
Outrage over this year’s police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis again recharged efforts to remove Confederate icons in New Orleans and nationwide.
Months after protests in New Orleans and other cities, there was little resistance to changing the street name.
There was one public comment read opposing the move during the recent meeting.
Picture: Xavier University, New Orleans. Photo of the university’s former gymnasium known as “The Barn” and Xavier University of Louisiana Library. (Bart Everson/Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons).