New Orleans Has Begun Taking Down Its Confederate Monuments

Lauren Perry
April 28, 2017

The Liberty Place monument, which is a 35-foot-tall white obelisk that stood on Iberville Street, was just one of four Confederate monuments that are being taken down.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu condemned the statue, urging that the monument no longer reflects the views and values of the New Orleans people.

New Orleans is a mostly black city of almost 390,000.

Mayor Landrieu says the city will not release times and dates for the other three monuments' removals to protect the workers.

WVUE Fox 8 reporter Rob Krieger claimed the workers were even wearing "what appears to be bullet proof vests". Police were also on hand, including officers who watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel.

While addressing the issue today, Landrieu reiterated to local media his claims that removing the monuments is about celebrating "diversity". "But let me be clear: we will not be deterred".

Nationally, the debate over Confederate symbols has become heated since nine parishioners were killed at a black church in SC in June 2015.

Soon after, SC passed legislation to remove Confederate flags from its State House grounds. Students at the University of MS also voted to remove the flag from university campus grounds. Unfortunately, many people have been protesting the statues being destroyed.

Last month, as The Two-Way reported, a federal appeals court greenlighted the city's plans to remove the monuments, including statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard.

"I think it's a awful thing", Civil War re-enactor Robert Bonner, 63, told ABC News.

"I think it's a awful thing", he said.

Shortly after, many other major Southern cities, especially those with prominent black populations, followed suit, removing the Rebel flag from public areas and dismantling monuments dedicated to the Confederacy. "You start losing where you came from and where you've been".

"Given threats and violent acts toward previous contractors, we understand the increased costs can be due to increased risks", City Hall Press Secretary Erin Burns said in an email.

Landrieu said the memorials don't represent his city as it approaches its 300th anniversary next year.

Supporters of the monuments say they are a cultural legacy that promotes heritage rather than racism.

The city tried twice to permanently remove the monument in the 1980s and early 1990s, but agreed to place it behind a mall in the upper corner of the French Quarter, largely out of sight, after facing a legal challenge in 1992.

The statue removals are part of a larger trend to put an end to glorifying racist historical events and white supremacist figures, consigning the slavery-era monuments to museums. It was erected to honor a deadly fight involving the "Crescent City White League", a group that was opposed to the city's biracial police force and militia post-Civil War.

The obelisk taken down on Monday is steeped in efforts to maintain white supremacy.

Other reports by VgToday

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