Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Statue of General Lee coming down in New Orleans on Friday


When Robert E. Lee is removed, it will be the fourth and final Confederate-era monument to be taken down by the city.

The first monument removed of David Beauregard was recently found in a maintenance yard next to trash. In a court case earlier this month, city officials were dismissive of the idea that City Park owns the land or the statue, though that attitude appears to have changed. Work began soon after sundown and news outlets showed the statue being lifted off its base shortly after 3 a.m.

Of the four monuments, Lee's was easily the most prominent, with the bronze statue alone being close to 20 feet tall.

New Orleans has already taken down the Davis statue as well as that of Confederate Gen. PGT Beauregard.

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

Statues and flags honoring the Confederacy have been removed from public spaces across the United States since 2015, after a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a SC church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos, recharging the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racial bias or an honorable heritage.

With the all-night process of removing the statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard from... Black lawmakers derided the House vote as "divisive" and "offensive".

But for many in this majority black city, the monuments pay homage to a history of slavery and segregation. "It's always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don't respect us". But to some it was the most objectionable. A statue of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis was taken down last week, and the monument dedicated to the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place was taken down in April. An inscription extolling white supremacy was added in 1932.

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Lee commanded Confederacy armies against the United States in the Civil War, and is a revered figure among supporters of the old South.

It towered over a traffic circle - Lee Circle - in an area between the office buildings of the city's business district and stately 19th century mansions in the nearby Garden District. There is no official word on if the statue of Robert E. Lee will remain, or be removed tonight. It was unveiled in 1884.

But the city, in a press release, said the removal would begin at 9 am Friday.

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