City makes it official: Four Confederate monuments removed from New Orleans

Angie Massey
May 23, 2017

The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has towered over New Orleans' busy Lee Circle for 133 years was taken down amid cheers Friday.

While Roof's actions spurred a debate in many parts of the South about whether it was appropriate to fly the Confederate battle emblem - and many places have taken it down - the reaction in New Orleans seemed to go even further, knocking away at even weightier, heavier parts of history.

Unlike the earlier statues, city officials were taking Lee's statue down in daylight. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for". Advocates of keeping the monuments in place - who Landrieu called "self-appointed defenders of history" - are "eerily silent about what amounts to historical malfeasance". Landrieu spokeswoman Erin Burns said the city will hold the monuments and consider proposals to move them to government or non-profit entities.

"Citizens have a right to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful protest", city officials said in the release.

As Landrieu enters his final 12 months in office, leading up to the city's 300th anniversary celebration, his administration has chosen to create a park with a water feature and public art in place of Lee.

The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies against the Union in the Civil War, was the most prominent of the four statues, his bronze figure standing nearly 20 feet (6 meters) tall in uniform, arms crossed defiantly, gazing northward. I agree that the first monument (Liberty ) should have been removed as it clearly represented racism. Lee's was the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures to be removed under a 2015 City Council vote on a proposal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

(AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld). Anti-monument protesters Rose Hunter, left, and her son, Deshaun Washington make their case with pro-monument supporters, right, near the statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard as the statue was prepared for removal fr. There was a tense exchange as fellow monument supporters demanded the return of the flag. As the day went on, the crowd grew to about 100 people, the station reported.

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The city's famed Uptown streetcar line wraps around the circle, and almost all Carnival parades traverse it near the end of their route. He added that they were erected years after the Civil War ended by people who wanted to show that white supremacy still held sway in the city. The obelisk marked a deadly fight between the Crescent City White League, a group opposed to the city's racially integrated police force, and state militia after the Civil War.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared that the Confederacy was "on the wrong side of humanity" as he delivered a speech on the city's decision to remove four Confederate monuments from public view. It's an image of Lee standing tall in uniform, with his arms crossed defiantly, looking toward the northern horizon from atop a roughly 60-foot (18 metres )-tall column. But he also says he's proud of the monument removal, saying it's important for the future of the city and the nation. Mayor Mitch Landrieu took these photographs of the removal of the P.G.T. Beauregard statue and posted them on his verified Twitter page.

Many said it was time for the statue to come down.

The city announced an outline of its plans late Thursday. Central Standard Time Wednesday, May 17, 2017, from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans.

The Louisiana Legislature is considering a measure that would prohibit local governments from removing war memorials, including those from the Civil War. The bill would allow local governments to take down a memorial only if voters approve the action at "an election held for that objective".

By Friday afternoon, more than 24 hours after it became apparent the statue would be taken down as "No Parking" signs, barricades and police officers appeared around Lee Circle, the crowd had changed from a 50-50 mix of those for and against, to an overwhelmingly Take 'Em Down crowd. That sparked protests, including one Saturday in which torch-carrying demonstrators were led by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Other reports by GizPress

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