Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

City removes 2nd of 4 Confederate statues in New Orleans

Francis Olson | 14 May, 2017, 14:03

Protesters gather before a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans on Thursday.

The Jefferson Davis statue is the second New Orleans monument to go, of four that have been earmarked for removal.

As workers slung a strap around the statue's waist and lifted it off its pedestal, "At least 100 people cheered from across the street, outnumbering the few dozen protesters, some waving Confederate flags", member station WWNO's Laine Kaplan-Levenson reports.

The city began the process to remove the monuments late in 2015, but court challenges tied up the move - approved by the city council in a 6-1 vote - until recently.

This week, we began the removal of a statue honoring Davis, and soon thereafter Lee and Beauregard.

The Monumental Task Committee called on the City Park Improvement Association to stop the removal. Police barricaded the entire intersection around 3 a.m., shuffling protestors, monument supporters and the media into metal corrals. As Mayor Landrieu stated, "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". St. Louis - and black people in St. Louis - have more pressing concerns than the continued public display of this offensive monument and its revisionist history, yes, we know that.

Charlie Schmitz, a white attorney in New Orleans who also stood among the Confederate supporters, said he anxious that taking down the monuments is essentially rewriting history.

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Workers have removed a controversial Confederate symbol in New Orleans under the cover of darkness, but surrounded by throngs of enthusiastic - and also grieving -demonstrators. These were the same procedures followed last month, when the city took down an obelisk that honored the Crescent City White League.

Police had to separate the two groups, and some shouted "Mitch for prison", referring to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is backing the removal, NBC News reported.

The New Orleans monuments are mostly in well-traveled public places.

City officials said plans are still in place to remove Lee and Beauregard, but have not said when the two monuments will be removed.

Critics of the monuments say they foster racism by celebrating leaders of the Confederacy in the pro-slavery South during the U.S. Civil War. "We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past", the mayor added.

"Hey white supremacy ain't tryna talk to ya, I'm gonna knock that statue down with my Altima", says a Take Em' Down NOLA protester.

The monument to Jefferson Davis was erected in 1911 and had stood in its location at the corner of Jefferson Davis Parkway and Canal Street for 106 years.

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