2nd of 4 Confederate monuments removed

Kristopher Drake
May 12, 2017

It was lowered on trucks and out of view of the media who had gathered on the scene.

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu posted photos on Twitter of the removal of the Jefferson Davis monument.

Officials had refused to give advance public notice of Thursday morning's removal, citing threats of violence against contractors and workers involved in the effort.

"I am here to witness this debacle, taking down this 106-year-old handsome monument", said Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee, which restored the statue as one of its first projects 29 years ago.

Parents at Morris Jeff Community School received a recorded message Wednesday night from administrators saying that the New Orleans Police Department had confirmed the statue would be taken down after midnight.

Small groups of pro-monument protesters have maintained a constant vigil at the statue since April 24, when the city took down the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place at the end of Iberville Street. The demonstrators were separated by metal barriers set up by the police and heckled each other from opposite sides of the barricade.

As preparation for removing the Davis statue, workers had wrapped the torso in a green bubble wrap and then placed a harness attached to a crane around the statue.

Workers wore helmets as well as what appeared to be tactical vests and face masks. "We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past".

The first of these, the Liberty Monument erected in 1891, was pulled down last month.

Davis lived in New Orleans after the Civil War and died there in 1889.

It is easily the most prominent of the statues: Lee standing, in uniform, arms crossed defiantly, looking toward the northern horizon from atop a roughly 60-foot-tall pedestal.

"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".

"Three weeks ago, we began a challenging but long overdue process of removing four statues that honor the "Lost Cause of the Confederacy". In 2015, the city decide to remove them and in March, a USA appeals court ruled that city had the right to proceed.

The statues in New Orleans are part of a controversy surrounding Confederate symbols over whether they represent slavery and racial injustice, or heritage. The City Council, now majority black, voted 6-1 to take the monuments down.

Opinions among New Orleans residents vary and are nuanced when it comes to Landrieu's move but the mayor has remained insistent - even amid blistering criticism from some allies - since he first pushed for the monument's removal in 2015.

In 2015, the city made a decision to take the monuments down, and a USA appeals court ruled in March that it had the right to proceed.

People in favor of the removal of confederate era statues demonstrate across the street from the Jefferson Davis statue, in anticipation of its imminent removal in New Orleans, Thursday, May 11, 2017. The statues are coming down after a judge rejected a last-minute injunction to halt the removal of the monuments. The demonstration attracted more than 700 people, including counter-protesters who carried Confederate flags.

In fact, a legal challenge was heard Wednesday morning on the status of the P.G.T. Beauregard monument, which sits at the entrance to City Park.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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