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New Orleans removes third Confederate-era monument

20 May 2017

New Orleans has already removed statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.

Last month, a monument was taken down that commemorated an 1874 attack on the racially integrated city police and state militia by a white supremacist group called the "Crescent City White League".

The statue of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard on his horse was lifted off its base shortly after 3 a.m., Fox 8 reported.

Still awaiting removal is the statue of Robert E. Lee, whose likeness stands atop a column in the center of Lee Circle. Landrieu appealed to the New Orleans City Council in 2015 to remove the monuments, which he says were erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate "the cult of the Lost Cause".

The Beauregard monument was unveiled to a 17-gun salute the afternoon of November 11, 1915, by Hilda Beauregard, a granddaughter of the Confederate general, according to a report in The Times-Picayune the next morning.

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But doing away with them has met with staunch resistance from groups who argue the statues are nevertheless important symbols of the city's Southern heritage.

Landrieu said the men honored in the statues fought against the nation.

Piece by piece, New Orleans' landscape is changing as city workers take down massive works of bronze and stone that once seemed immoveable in a region where some still cling to a Confederate legacy.

There has been, however, a growing crime problem in New Orleans. On Sunday morning, with protections of snipers, masked workers and a dumbstruck audience, the worst of all of the monuments was cut and carried., the Liberty Monument.

During a Special Meeting of the New Orleans City Council, members of the City Council voted 6-1 in support of Ordinance Calendar No. 31,082, which declared that the four Confederate monuments are nuisances pursuant to Section 146-611 of the Code of the City of New Orleans and should be removed from their prominent locations in New Orleans. Despite the fact that Lee has no significant ties to New Orleans, this monument was commissioned by The Robert E. Lee Monumental Association of New Orleans. Judges have ruled that the city can take them down.

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has pushed the removal of the statues which he said celebrated white supremacy, said this final removal will allow the Louisiana city to "heal and become the city we always should have been had we'd gotten this right the first time".

Many in the crowd at the unveiling wore grey and took off their hats when a band played "Dixie" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag", a marching song often associated with the confederacy. Instead, perhaps these statues come to life and roam the streets, Godzilla-style, at night.

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.

Police barricaded the statue on Tuesday and protesters clustered around the site as crew began working on the monument that evening.

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New Orleans removes third Confederate-era monument