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Mayor Landrieu Speaks Shortly Before the Final Monument Comes Down

Update at 4:30PM


Shortly before the take down of the Robert E. Lee monument, Mayor Mitch Landrieu shared an impassioned explanation for his work to remove four controversial statues honoring the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” from the city’s landscape, and how the city can move forward. 


Speaking at a private event at Gallier Hall, near Lee Circle, the location of the final monument, Landrieu told the crowd, “We cannot be afraid of the truth.”


The Mayor opened his speech by quoting George W. Bush’s famous statement, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.” Landrieu then acknowledged that the four statutes were representative of “the cult of the lost cause,” and did not singularly signify the lives of the men depicted. Instead, the monuments functioned to “rewrite history and hide the truth.” 


At the same time, crowds gathered on each side of the monument at Lee Circle, which was secured by metal fencing, police tape, and NOPD officers. Pro-monuments advocates and Take Em Down NOLA supporters alike stood in silence as they watched the crane enter into the site of the final monument. 


Though Robert E. Lee had no notable connections to New Orleans, the statue has been the crux of the monuments debates. Lee Circle recently was the meeting place for Take Em Down NOLA protesters and pro-monument activists on May 7th. 


After the press conference, Landrieu took to Twitter to expand on his points. He advised peeling away the “grip on a false narrative of our history” that is honoring the south’s Confederate past with monuments outside of historical context. 



In his speech at Gallier Hall, Landrieu stated that the take down of the four monuments offer a chance “for healing and understanding.” The Mayor resounded that plea on social media. He encouraged New Orleanians to be more open and understanding with one another, in their perspectives and experiences, stating that if the city’s residents don’t change then the monuments’ take down would be “in vain.”



Updated at 4:30PM

As of 4:30PM on Friday (5.19), the crane has been hooked to the Lee monument. 


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