Local Activist Proposes New Approach to Renaming Lee Circle

Photo courtesy of Fuzheado, Wikimedia

Vincenzo Pasquantonio once served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Rights and Equity for the City of New Orleans. Now, he’s asking Mayor Cantrell and others to rename Lee Circle.

Although the legal name of New Orleans’ most prominent traffic circle is officially “Tivoli Circle,” there is no signage indicating this. Instead, the area became known as “Lee Circle” due to the large statue of Robert E. Lee that once stood atop the pedestal at the center of the circle. Though the statue was removed in 2017, the city has made no move to put up signage indicating the true name of the traffic circle, and the unofficial name has stuck.

Tivoli is a town located just east of Rome and was once known as Tibur (named for the river Tibur). During the time of the Roman empire, the town served as a summer resort; much as New Orleans does for the United States and other areas of the world. “As we debate and discuss the future of this important public space, we can ensure that today, this area bears no further ties to Robert E. Lee or the dark past that he represented,” Pasquantonio states in his petition. “It is time to turn the page on Lee Circle.”

The petition requests that Mayor Cantrell direct the  New Orleans Department of Public Works to erect street signs that reflect the true legal name of the area. This shouldn’t require any additional action by the City Council.

You can sign the petition here.


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