Mayor: Statue removal will allow city to heal
The fourth and final Confederate-era monument is set to be removed by the city of New Orleans on Friday morning, the Times-Picayune reported. It’s the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures the city is removing.
(AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld). New Orleans police keep watch over pro-monument protesters and anti-monument protesters Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as the Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orlean.
Michael “Quess” Moore co-founded the group Take “Em Down NOLA, which led New Orleans” charge to remove its Confederate statues.
The city is still trying to work out what it will do at the site of P.G.T. Beauregard.
What will happen with the statues that have been removed? They gained new momentum in June 2015, when Dylann Roof, a professed white supremacist who idolized the Confederacy’s racist legacy, murdered nine black churchgoers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. “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”.
“This “cult” had one goal”, he explained, “through monuments and through other means, to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity”.
“The Civil War is over; the Confederacy lost and we are better for it”, Landrieu said during his speech. The opponents need to see the monuments for what they are: a fictional, sanitized view of American history, the mayor said.
Just after dawn, a removal crew converged around Lee Circle, a traffic roundabout between the city’s bustling central business district and the wealthy Garden District neighborhood of antebellum mansions. Speaking of the Confederate past, he said: “It’s my history, but it’s not my heritage”. Workers who eventually removed the monuments wore bulletproof body armor and face masks, as a precaution.
Landrieu addressed the city and select patrons at Gallier Hall about the end of the removal of the four monuments that included monuments to The Battle of Liberty Place, the Jefferson Davis Memorial and the monument to P.G.T. Beauregard.
Barricades went up overnight around the park where the 16ft (4.8m) statue was perched atop a 60ft column.
The next big fight, Suber said, will be to remove an equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837, from a prominent spot in Jackson Square in the city’s historic French Quarter.
Overnight there was an incident where someone in a vehicle took a flag from a monument supporter.
The platforms where the monuments once stood will be decorated with public art and American flags, city authorities say. In years following Katrina, the city had gotten safer.
Landrieu called that aspect of our shared history a “searing truth, and it immediately begs the question why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks, nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives – of pain, of sacrifice, of shame – all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans“.