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Store owner to remove Nazi, KKK items after complaint
A store in New Orleans' French Quarter will remove Jim Crow-era antique pieces and Nazi-related items after complaints from a Jewish civil rights group leader.
The store called Rare Finds, owned by Sue Saucier since 2000, is host to some historically-sensitive items, such as a hooded Klansman statuette and a Nazi flag, which sold for $1,295 and $1,695, respectively, according to NOLA.com.
Aaron Ahlquist, director of the Anti-Defamation League's South Central Region chapter, walked into Saucier's shop on Decatur St. earlier this week and saw items for sale that are "not the image that New Orleans wants to convey to the millions of visitors each year, nor to our own citizens." He then asked Saucier to remove the items.
"It is deeply troubling that items so clearly associated with hateful ideologies are so prominently displayed for sale in the French Quarter," Ahlquist said, according to NOLA.com. "We cannot allow for hate to become normalized, and that certainly includes profiting from the symbols of hate."
Saucier was reportedly defensive about the request, claiming that she does not condone the meaning behind the items, but that the antiques are historical pieces that hold monetary value. She also said that people who take issue with the items can either choose not to visit her store or can purchase the items for the sole purpose of destroying them.
"You can quote me on that," Saucier told NOLA.com. "Do what you want with (them). I don't care."
Reporters called on historian Lawrence Powell, a former professor at Tulane University for 34 years before retiring in 2012, who said he did not find merit in Saucier's claim that the inflammatory items held historical value.
"She has the right to display it and sell it - that's the freedom of commerce," Powell said. "But I think it represents terrible judgment, and racial and ethnic insensitivity, and maybe worse."
After consulting with her attorney, Saucier said that she would remove the artifacts from her store, which she reportedly did on Friday.
"You can't please everyone in this world - it's a little too (politically correct) today," Saucier told the newspaper. "We're not trying to offend anyone by having this merchandise. But this is America. You can have freedom of speech and freedom of thought.".