John McDonogh statue toppled in front of Gallier Hall in New Orleans

The John McDonogh statue in front of Gallier Hall in New Orleans was found knocked off of its pedestal early Friday. This is the second time in about a month that a statue of McDonogh has been taken down in the city.

McDonogh, a real estate and shipping magnate who left most of his fortune to build public schools in New Orleans, also was a slave owner, which has led to calls for the removal of his statues. No one immediately took responsibility Friday

The morning after at least two statues to racially divisive figures in New Orleans were pulled from their pedestals and a third defaced, Mayor…

As of 7:30 a.m., the statue of McDonogh was laying flat in the shrubs next to the pedestal in Lafayette Park. A broken piece of the pedestal was on the ground as well. A rope, which looked like it was used to pull the statue down, remained in the shrubs too.

The statues of two children, which are part of the monument, were left standing.

New Orleans police officers were investigating around the pedestal Friday morning, but there was no was no immediate word from them about what happened.

It's the second statue that was toppled overnight in New Orleans.

In June, a group of protesters tore down the bust of McDonogh in Duncan Plaza and rolled it into the Mississippi River.

The bust was later dragged out of the river. Two people were booked into jail on charges related to theft, but were later released on their own recognizance.

A group of protesters used a chisel, rope and a skateboard to tear down the bust of John McDonogh in Duncan Plaza, doused it in brightly color…

Who was John McDonogh?

McDonogh, who owned many slaves, has been among the historical figures in the spotlight for those who want statues and monuments taken down and buildings and streets renamed.

After his death in 1850, McDonogh left most of his money to the cities of New Orleans and his native Baltimore to build public schools. Many of those schools in the New Orleans area still bear his name.

He has two statues honoring him in New Orleans: a bust in Duncan Plaza and a statue in Lafayette Park in front of Gallier Hall. The activist group Take 'Em Down NOLA has called for them to be removed.

The Layette Square statue used to be the centerpiece for John McDonogh Day. Every year on May 7, the city's schoolchildren were told to line up, Black children behind White children, to place flowers to honor McDonogh.

In 1954, civil rights leaders asked Black parents to keep their children home instead of allowing them to participate.

In a 1992 Times-Picayune story, civil rights leader Revius Ortique shared his memories of John McDonogh Day.

"Black students were required to arrive early at Lafayette Square, then to wait in the sun until students from White public schools put their flowers around the statue,” Ortique said. “Only then could Black students place their flowers at the base of the statue.”

The New Orleans City Council on Thursday kicked off the process of renaming streets that honor Confederates and white supremacists, voting to …

The city of New Orleans in 2017 took down large statues of three prominent Confederates — Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard — as well as an obelisk commemorating the 1874 Battle of Liberty Place, a White supremacist uprising led by the Crescent City White League that sought to overthrow the state’s Reconstruction government.

The mayor and a number of New Orleans City Council members are currently working to rename a slew of streets in the city named for Confederate figures, including Jefferson Davis Parkway.

Staff writers Chad Calder, Bryn Stole, John Simerman, Ramon Antonio Vargas and Orlando Flores Jr. contributed to this story, along with contributing writer Katy Reckdahl.

Carlie Kollath Wells is a morning reporter at and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.