New Orleans: Removal of 3rd Confederate-era monument begins

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 18, 2017

A crew of workers in New Orleans on Wednesday removed the statue of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, the third Confederate monument to come down in the city in the last month. There's now one confederate monument that's still slated for removal: the statue of Robert E. Lee.

Police began moving pro-monument supporters away from the bronze equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday in preparation for its removal.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu took these photographs of the removal of the P.G.T. Beauregard statue and posted them on his verified Twitter page. Protesters for and against the removal were in attendance Tuesday night, some waving American flags some waving Confederate flags, as happened when the Davis statue was removed.

"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.

"Removing New Orleans's Confederate monuments from places of prominence is an acknowledgment that it is time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history", Landrieu wrote.

The exact dates and times of the remaining two statues - Beauregard and General Robert E. Lee in the Central Business District - had remained a secret.

The group claimed the City Park Improvement Association owns the statue, not the city. Best known for commanding Confederate forces at Charleston, the start of the war and for his victories at Bull Run and Petersburg, Beauregard was born in nearby St. Bernard Parish and died in New Orleans.

We also asked for a list of all the private donors and how much they donated to remove the monuments.

"To me, they are a historic landmark in the city, like a placeholder that has survived countless hurricanes", said a man who only identified himself as George.

New Orleans police officers could be seen talking to and then handcuffing the suspects near the monument.

The workers who removed the Beauregard statue around 3 a.m. Wednesday went about their job in face-concealing gear and under the protection of both mounted police and police snipers, according to witnesses at the scene. Monument removals have been delayed by a host of competing historical arguments, litigation in state and federal courts, protests, threats and, in one case, the handiwork of an arsonist.

The Beauregard statue has stood at the entrance to City Park on Esplanade Avenue since its dedication in 1915.

In an interview last week, Thomas Payne, executive director at Beauvoir, the Biloxi, Mississippi, home housing Jefferson Davis' presidential library, confirmed his team would appreciate any of the Confederate monuments.

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