Trumpet star Blanchard: Confederate statue removal historic

Angie Massey
May 20, 2017

The City of New Orleans on Wednesday took down a Confederate monument of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, the third statue the city has taken down. But the Louisiana city will take down a prominent statue of Lee on Friday.

Police barricaded the statue on Tuesday and protesters clustered around the site as crew began working on the monument that evening. Work began soon after sundown and news outlets showed the statue being lifted off its base shortly after 3 a.m. His statue sits at a traffic circle near the entrance to New Orleans City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 1989, construction on Canal Street forced the removal of the monument, but it was relocated to its past location on Iberville Street in 1993.

Die-hard monument supporters say the removal was an affront to history.

As the general commander of Confederate forces, Lee surrendered his army in 1865, effectively ending the Civil War. "How the city can get away with moving a 102-year-old monument, against the advice of the Lt. Governor and Attorney General, and without first proving ownership, defies any sort of logic".

While many were supportive of removal, opinions varied widely in the crowd of hundreds that gathered to watch Friday.

But he also believes that it's up to the communities where the monuments reside, and those communities should decide where that place in history is. "It's a part of my heritage", said Varela. The removal of the statue comes after the city has already taken.

In December 2015, the New Orleans City Council voted to remove the four confederate landmarks.

The statue was the third out of four Confederate statues that was slated for removal in the city. Therefore, the City will not share details on a removal timeline for the Robert E. Lee statue.

Last week, the city removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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Those three statues were taken down in the pre-dawn hours without advance public notice, a precautionary measure after officials said threats were made against contractors and workers involved.

The city plans to have extra security around the Lee statue Friday morning and will block off a one-block radius around Lee Circle to cars before and during the removal in anticipation of protests.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu first proposed the removal of Confederate monuments in 2015, and the city council approved the decision a year ago. The gunman was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a passionate defense Friday (May 19) of the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, saying the statues were erected as symbols of white supremacy and the city can now right that wrong for future generations.

"Can you look into the eyes of this young girl and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her?" About 18 feet tall, it had a bronze likeness of Davis standing atop a tall stone pedestal.

As for what will happen to the statues, The Associated Press reports the city is soliciting proposals from nonprofit and government entities and has so far gotten offers from various public and private institutions.

The removal of the statues follows a final decision on March 8, 2017 by the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana affirming the City's legal right to remove the statue.

The city said those taking the statues can not display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.

Other reports by GizPress

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