New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed

New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed

New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed

Workers in New Orleans have removed the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures - a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee. When the rest of the monument is brought down, it will be the fourth such historical marker removed since late April.

Meanwhile, New Orleans' monument became bogged down in litigation, and the city struggled to find contractors fearless enough to risk backlash to move its monuments. It will be the last of four Confederate-era monuments removed by the city after a long and divisive battle over whether old South emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.

Instead, the pale-skinned Landrieu wants to do something his four African-American predecessors didn't even pursue as their top policy agenda - remove the four "evil" Confederate monuments that are, apparently, at fault for people fleeing the city.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu took photographs of the Jefferson Davis statue being removed from its pedestal overnight.

NOLA.com is covering the takedown of Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue throughout the day.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu began pushing for the monuments' removal in 2015 after Dylann Roof massacred nine black Charleston churchgoers.

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Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon. "Today is a sign that we are forcing New Orleans to have a conversation about race and economics and politics that has honestly not happened here in the city before".

The city plans to have extra security around the Lee statue Friday and will cordon off a one-block radius around Lee Circle to cars in anticipation of protests. "So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well, what I just described to you is our history as well".

"I knew that taking these monuments down was going to be tough", Landrieu said. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for".

After the unveiling, a crowd of Confederate veterans circled the statue two or three times as strains of "America" and "Dixie" filled the air.

Rumors of the removal boiled over Thursday night with protesters flocking to Lee Circle before the city of New Orleans announced the removal of the final statue would take place at 9 a.m. Friday.

"The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity", Landrieu said.

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Earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia ― where the city council voted earlier this year to sell a statue of Lee ― a group of protesters led by white supremacist Richard Spencer circled Lee's statue carrying torches in a demonstration Mayor Mike Singer said harked "back to the days of the KKK".

The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies fighting the United States in the Civil War, will be taken down from atop a 60-foot (18 meters)-high pedestal where it was been since 1884.

The statues will be put in storage while the city looks for a suitable place to display them, CNN reported.

The city plans to leave the column where Lee's statue stood intact and will mount public art in its place.

Overnight there was an incident where someone in a vehicle took a flag from a monument supporter. Louisiana's Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser this week reached out to Landrieu to ask the city to work with his office to find a location "befitting" the statues.

Eventually, New Orleans police recovered the flag and returned it to the monument supporter.

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