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New Orleans to take down Confederate statues

09 May 2017

The first monument to go was the "Liberty Place" statue, honoring the Battle of Liberty Place conflict in which white New Orleans citizens rebelled against a biracial government created during the Reconstruction Era.

Shortly after, many other major Southern cities, especially those with prominent black populations, followed suit, removing the Rebel flag from public areas and dismantling monuments dedicated to the Confederacy.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) tweeted that the statues "do not represent the diversity" of New Orleans.

The timing of the unannounced removal was created to minimize protests by vocal opponents who had been staging vigils, the authorities said. Police were also on hand, including officers who watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel.

According to Landrieu's statement, it was erected in 1891 to commemorate the "Battle of Liberty Place", a 1874 insurrection of the Crescent City White League, a group of all white, mostly Confederate veterans, who battled against the racially integrated New Orleans Metropolitan Police force and state militia. "Supporters of the monuments say they're part of the city's history", Wendland added.

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In June that year, a white supremacist fatally shot nine African-American parishioners at a black church in SC, prompting a national debate over Confederate symbols in the formerly slave-owning South.

Hundreds of Confederate memorials still stand across the states that seceded from the United States in 1861, and interest in the them, as artifacts of historical significance, remains high.

Last month, as The Two-Way reported, a federal appeals court greenlighted the city's plans to remove the monuments, including statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard.

Workers who took the monument down Monday could be seen wearing bulletproof vests, military-style helmets and scarves that obscured their faces.

"Due to intense level of threats we will not be sharing details", Landrieu said. "When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money", Bonner said. "You start losing where you came from and where you've been".

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The Monumental Task Committee, which sued to preserve the memorials, condemned the middle-of-the-night removal as "atrocious government".

In 1989, construction on Canal Street forced the removal of the monument, but it was relocated to its current location on Iberville Street in 1993.

The original inscription on the statue even made a declaration of white supremacy in the state.

Defendants were the city, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority.

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New Orleans to take down Confederate statues