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NOLA Begins Take Down of Confederate Statues

Following many months of speculation, the process of bringing down New Orleans’s Confederate monuments began early Monday (4.24) morning with the removal of a statue honoring the Battle of Liberty Place. It was the first in a series of four monuments honoring the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has pledged to remove from the city’s landscape.  


This morning’s takedown is a quick move following the March 8th decision by the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana that acknowledged New Orleans had the legal right to the monuments. In the weeks following the decision, vocal threats of physical violence caused many contractors and city employees staffed on the project to quit their work — leaving the likelihood of the the statue’s ever coming down look increasingly less likely. Due to the security risks involved, the City of New Orleans decided that all details about future monument removals would not be made public. The crew removing the Battle of Liberty Place statue Monday morning wore masks and body suits to obscure their identity; the early morning removal time was intended to ward off the violent threats that the project members have already received. 


The City also announced on Monday that private funding has been secured for the removal and relocation of all four monuments. 


“The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion, and tolerance,” said Mayor Landrieu. 


The Battle of Liberty Place monument, before Monday located on Iberville Street, was erected in 1891 to pay tribute to members of the Crescent City White League, a white supremacist organization mostly composed of Confederate veterans. During the 1874 battle, the league went up against the New Orleans racially integrated police force. 


Additional monuments set to be removed under Landrieu’s watch include the P.G.T. Beauregard statue at the entrance of City Park on Esplanade Avenue, the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, and the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle. 


The monuments will first be moved to storage, after which the City will attempt to place the statues in a museum or other facility. 


“Relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone one else,” said Landrieu. "This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile -- and most importantly-- choose a better future.We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context –and that’s where these statues belong.”

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