U.S.

Last Confederate monument removed in New Orleans

Last Confederate monument removed in New Orleans

As many onlookers cheered Friday, a crane hoisted the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the top of a monument in New Orleans.

Historians, in the past, have said that the opposite is true of New Orleans, however, arguing that the city attracts tourists and residents because of its rich history and public museum-like displays. Friday's removal effort comes after a long and divisive battle over whether old South emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.

Unlike the first three statues, city officials plan to take Lee's statue down during the day, with Mayor Mitch Landrieu planning a major speech Friday afternoon to explain his reasoning.

The Crescent City White League monument was taken down on April 24 and the Davis statue on May 11. The Jefferson Davis statue came down last week, and the Beauregard statue was dismantled earlier this week.

Earlier this month, dozens of supporters of the monuments clashed with hundreds of demonstrators near the site of the Robert E. Lee statue.

Advocate photographer Matthew Hinton captured the moment the statue was popped off its pedestal. Though public scrutiny of such memorials has intensified since white supremacist Dylann Roof's June 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., the act of removing them is fraught with logistical, legal and ideological hurdles.

Private funding raised by the city will pay for the removal of the landmarks, Landrieu's office has said.

City officials are trying to divorce New Orleans from symbols celebrating the Confederacy. The process started around 7 a.m. and the statue still hadn't been removed as of 3 p.m.




That's right, when asked about his city's costs to remove the monuments, Mayor Landrieu responded with what could arguably go down in history as one of the most patently ridiculous statements from any American politician in the history of our nation. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for".

Of the Confederate past, he said: "It's my history, but it's not my heritage".

By noon, about 100 people had gathered near Lee Circle to watch the statue come down.

Barricades went up overnight around the park where the 16ft (4.8m) statue was perched atop a 60ft column.

The city's majority-black City Council voted 6-1 in 2015 to approve the demolition of statues honoring Lee and Confederate Gen. PGT Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, the president of the former Confederate States of America, as well as a Battle of Liberty Place monument.

Overnight there was an incident where someone in a auto took a flag from a monument supporter. "And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African-Americans - or anyone else - to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person's humanity seems perverse and absurd".

The city said the statues can not be displayed outdoors on public property in New Orleans. In years following Katrina, the city had gotten safer.

According to Landrieu, the monuments are the result of what he called "a cult of the lost cause".


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