2017-04-25 04:16:59 UTC
rebel heritage, masked workers in New Orleans dismantled a
monument to that past chunk by chunk, under darkness and the
protection of police snipers.
We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on
a pedestal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) said after a 19th-century
obelisk honoring what the mayor called white supremacists was
taken down early Monday.
The Battle of Liberty Place monument, which honors members of
the Crescent City White League who died trying to overthrow the
New Orleans government after the Civil War, was the first of
four statues linked to the Confederacy that are set to be torn
down in New Orleans.
Landrieu said that intimidation and threats by people who dont
want the statues down prompted him to order the monument
removed before sunrise, without prior announcement, on the same
day that some other states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.
After a small group of protesters dispersed about 1:30 a.m.,
police officers barricaded surrounding streets, and snipers took
position on a rooftop above the statue, according to the Times-
Picayune. By 3 a.m., workers were drilling into the obelisks
pale stonework, and by dawn the Liberty Place monument had been
trucked away in pieces.
Contractors wore face masks, helmets and what one reporter
described at a news conference the next morning as militarylike
bulletproof vests. Landrieu said the workers were disguised for
The mayor called the Liberty Place monument the most offensive
of the citys tributes to the lost cause of the Confederacy.
It and three other memorials to rebel leaders Confederate
President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T.
Beauregard were ordered removed in 2015, after city meetings
that the Times-Picayune described as rowdy and sometimes
racially divided. Landrieu did not announce when the three other
condemned statues will be removed.
There has been more division over Confederate memorials in
Louisianas neighbor states, which have been wrestling with how
to remember their Civil War legacies after a self-described
white supremacist massacred black churchgoers in South Carolina
two years ago.
In the immortal words of President Jefferson Davis, please just
leave us alone, a chaplain for a Confederate heritage group in
Alabama wrote for AL.com last week, defending Mondays state
holiday to honor fallen rebel soldiers. Let us honor the valor
and bravery of our Southern heroes without intimidation and
insult, Barry Cook wrote. Like other defenders of Confederate
heritage, Cook portrayed the Civil War as a battle for states
rights, separate from slavery.
Its also Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi, where Gov.
Phil Bryant (R) has repeatedly proclaimed April as Confederate
Several other Southern states also recognize the holiday,
including Louisiana, which will do so in June. Cities, however,
dont have to follow suit.
The monument New Orleans took down Monday marks a battle that
occurred several years after the Civil Wars end in which white
paramilitaries battled a mixed-race police force, causing deaths
on both sides. A plaque removed from the monument in 1989 once
hailed white supremacy in the South, according to the Times-
At a news conference Monday morning, Landrieu read out the names
of police who died in the Battle of Liberty Place. He derided
their opponents as a cult in a statement.
The monument was trucked off to storage, Landrieu said, and will
be relocated later, perhaps to a museum. He promised to stick to
plans to remove the other three Confederate statues, even as a
reporter predicted intense opposition after Mondays sneak
I very strongly believe that were on the right side of
history, the mayor said.