Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

New Orleans removes Beauregard statue


The heated debate over the statues has brought national media spotlight, given new life to a whole range of factually inaccurate claims about the Civil War, and drawn many monument defenders and protesters to a city where many locals say they are accustomed to crowds but not open conflict.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument, which was removed four weeks ago, was erected by the Crescent City White League to remember the deadly insurrection led by white supremacists against the City's racially integrated police department and government.

Crews began the process of dismantling the Beauregard statue - which stands about 15 feet tall and weighs between 12,000 and 14,000 pounds - around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Barricades stretched from across the bridge down Esplanade in front of the Shell gas station on Moss, with more around City Park, stretching across Carrollton Avenue. NOPD reports at least four people have been arrested.

"We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city", Landrieu vowed last month after the first statue came down.

Landrieu drew blistering criticism from monument supporters and even some political allies.

"Today, we take another step in defining our city not by our past, but by our bright future", said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement.

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The equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard honors the military leader who died in New Orleans in 1893.

Still awaiting removal is the statue of Robert E. Lee, whose likeness stands atop a column in the center of Lee Circle.

New Orleans Police are investigating threats made by monument defenders against contractors involved in various aspects of the removal plan.

The statue will be stored in a city warehouse until a permanent location can be determined, officials said.

Monument supporters said the statues remember and honour history.

The Monumental Task Committee, in perhaps its most strongly-worded statement since the removal of the statues began, said the statue was of perhaps the most historically-significant Creole who ever lived.

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"We shouldn't be intimidated by these out-of-towners who come here to scare the residents and police", said Take Em Down NOLA member Belva Kelly.

The push by southern cities to remove monuments and Confederate flags from public display follows the 2015 shooting at a predominantly black church in SC.

A crane that was expected to eventually lift the statue from its base was moved into position, along with other heavy equipment, after workers cleared the area around the monument.

This comes less than 48 hours after the city removed the P.G.T. Beauregard monument.

Monument workers covered their faces and wore bulletproof vests and helmets for safety while removing the first two memorials of The White Rebellion and Jefferson Davis.

Hillyer said his comment is not just some random right-wing response but reflects how bad Landrieu has handled the monument situation. The fact that the monuments don't have a final destination so far also added to his worries.

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