Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

New Orleans takes down 3rd Confederate-era monument

New Orleans takes down 3rd Confederate-era monument

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday said workers removed a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard from City Park, calling it a "another step forward for our city". In the months since, intense public debate over the meaning of the monuments sparked protests, fights on social media and lawsuits meant to block the removal, legal maneuvering that ultimately failed. Crew removed the statue from the ground a little after 3 a.m., reports CNN.

The last Confederate monument scheduled to be removed is the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is located in the center of Lee Circle.

It is the last of four Confederate-era monuments that New Orleans pledged to remove amid a swirl of controversy. Workers removing the first two memorials generally wore bulletproof vests, helmets and face coverings to shield their identities as the work took place well after midnight to minimize attention.

But doing away with them has met with staunch resistance from groups who argue the statues are nevertheless important symbols of the city's Southern heritage.

Then, last Thursday, workers took down a statue honoring Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

About 100 people were on hand as a huge crane arrived at the New Orleans monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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There has been, however, a growing crime problem in New Orleans. He said this final removal will allow the Louisiana city to "heal and become the city we always should have been had we'd gotten this right the first time". The practice of erecting monuments to honor the memory of beloved figures and leaders has been a tradition throughout the history of mankind.

Others felt the city has bigger problems Mayor Mitch Landrieu is ignoring other than removing the monuments.

The city plans to leave the column at Lee's Circle intact and will mount public art in its place.

In 2015, the City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monuments after a succession of contentious public meetings. In 1932, the City added a plaque to the monument, which stated that the statue commemorated the "overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers...and the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state". Three depict individuals deeply influential within the Confederacy, and the fourth honors an insurrection of mostly Confederate veterans who battled against the City's racially integrated police and state militia. 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. He says in an interview with The Associated Press that "we don't want these statues in places of reverence; they need to be in places of remembrance".

The public memorials to Beauregard and other heroes of the U.S. Civil War's pro-slavery Confederacy have been denounced by critics as an affront to the ideals of multi-racial tolerance and diversity in the majority-black Louisiana city.

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