New Orleans Prepares To Take Down Statue Of Gen. Robert E. Lee

New Orleans Removes Statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard Digital Editor

New Orleans Removes Statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard Digital Editor

The city announced late Tuesday that it had begun the process of removing a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard - the third of four monuments city officials plan to take down across the city. The removal of the statue comes after the city has already taken.

New Orleans still has one more monument to remove.

The city of New Orleans has not been publicizing when the monuments would come down.

He said the monuments have no place in the city as it prepares for its tricentennial.

But clearing out the monuments has been highly controversial.

Workers in New Orleans took down a Confederate monument to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard early Wednesday, the third of four such monuments to come down in the city.

The city organized extra security around the Lee statue Friday and cordoned off a one-block radius around Lee Circle to cars in anticipation of protests. "But look! It's happening".

The P.G.T. Beauregard monument and pieces of other monuments that have been removed in recent weeks are sitting in a city-owned lot in the Desire neighborhood. It caps a almost two-year-long process that has been railed against by those who feel the monuments are a part of Southern heritage and honor the dead.

But for many in this majority black city, the monuments pay honor to a history of slavery and segregation, and they want them down.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu had proposed the removal of the monuments after the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a SC church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos, recharging the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage. "While we must honour our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans".

Landrieu drew blistering criticism from monument supporters and even some political allies.

"Today we take another step in defining our City not by our past but by our bright future", New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

"These statues are not just stone and metal". They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for".

"After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism, as much as burning a cross on someone's lawn". He added that the monuments were erected years after the Civil War ended by people who wanted to show that white supremacy still held sway in the city.

Workers jockeyed a tall crane into position Friday morning to reach the statue, which has perched atop a 60-foot (18 meter)-high pedestal in a traffic circle where it has been since 1884.

The Robert E. Lee statue was a familiar landmark for tourists and commuters who travel busy St. Charles Avenue by vehicle or on one of the city's historic streetcars.

Lee's removal was planned during the day, and announced in advance. Landrieu said the change was out of safety concerns because the statue was close to electrical wires and New Orleans' famous streetcar lines. People in kayaks and canoes could be seen at times.

While many were supportive of removal, opinions varied widely in the crowd of hundreds that gathered to watch Friday. Of the Confederate past, he says: "It's my history, but it's not my heritage". The statues wereerected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the "Cult of the Lost Cause", a movement recognized across the South ascelebrating and promoting white supremacy.There are four prominentmonuments inquestion.

The City Council voted 6-1 in 2015 to remove the monuments after a succession of contentious public meetings where impassioned monument supporters and opponents heckled each other.

The removal process has been anything but easy. Crews also took down a monument memorializing a deadly white supremacist uprising in 1874.

The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies against the Union in the Civil War, was the most prominent of the four statues, his bronze figure standing almost 20 feet (6 meters) tall in uniform, arms crossed defiantly, gazing northward.

Attention now shifts to where the monuments will go and what will take their place.

Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon.

As for what will happen to the statues, The Associated Press reports the city is soliciting proposals from nonprofit and government entities and has so far gotten offers from various public and private institutions.

The Lee statue had towered over a traffic circle - Lee Circle - in an area between the office buildings of the city's business district and stately 19th-century mansions in the nearby Garden District. FILE - In this September 2, 2015 file photo, the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee stands in Lee Circle in New Orleans.

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