Why does Lafayette Square have no statue or monument to the Marquis de Lafayette?
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who fought with American colonists against Britain in the American Revolution, is commemorated in many ways in New Orleans. There are streets, cemeteries and a school named after him. A bronze bust of Lafayette has been part of the Louisiana State Museum since 1964, and is exhibited on the first floor of the Cabildo.
There's also Lafayette Square, a public park, in the Central Business District.
The park was designed by Charles Laveau Trudeau in 1798 and was given its current name in 1825 after Lafayette visited the city. At that time, the park had no statues.
A bronze bust of philanthropist John McDonogh was dedicated at the square in 1898, and in 1900 a statue of statesman Henry Clay was relocated to Lafayette Square from the intersection of Canal and Royal streets, where it had been since 1856. The move was necessary to make room for railway lines on Canal Street.
A marble statue of Benjamin Franklin that had been at the center of Lafayette Square was moved to the Camp Street side of the park, then was relocated to the public library at Lee Circle after weather began to damage it. In 1926, the 8-foot-tall bronze statue of Franklin, a gift from Henry Wadsworth Gustine of Chicago, filled the vacant base on Camp Street, but no statues of Lafayette were erected in or relocated to the park.
There is a historical marker on the St. Charles Avenue side of the square that describes Lafayette's contributions to America in both French and English.