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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jefferson Davis comes down, second of four Confederate-era monuments removed in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 6:20 AM

click to enlarge A crane lifts a statue of Jefferson Davis off its pedestal May 11. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • A crane lifts a statue of Jefferson Davis off its pedestal May 11.

Just after 5 a.m. May 11, the city removed the statue of Jefferson Davis from its pedestal overlooking Canal Street in Mid-City. The monument to the former president of the Confederacy — captured 152 years and one day to the date of the statue's removal — is the second of four Confederate-era monuments scheduled for removal by the city. Crews removed the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk last month.

Dozens of law enforcement surrounded Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway, blocked in all directions as construction crews brought in a crane, a Budget rental truck with materials, and other equipment. Crews wore dark clothing, helmets and body armor, as they did during the Liberty monument removal.

The city also did not announce either statues' removal. In a statement, the city said it does not plan to announce removal plans or a timeline for the two remaining monuments — P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park and Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle — due to the "widely known intimidation, threats, and violence."Monument supporters — who have camped at the site for the last two weeks — waved Confederate flags across the street from the statue. Supporters and opponents were separated by barricades, similar to how NOPD organized protesters at Lee Circle on May  7.

As a crane lifted the Davis statue off its pedestal, crowds on either side of the intersection cheered and applauded. Davis then was crated and lifted into a truck. As the sun began to rise, crews and police remained at the site to remove the memorial monument itself.

The statues' removal follows decades of debate and a 2015 City Council vote at Mayor Mitch Landrieu's request.

"Three weeks ago, we began a challenging but long overdue process of removing four statues that honor the ‘Lost Cause of the Confederacy.’ Today we continue the mission,” Landrieu said in a statement early this morning. “These monuments have stood not as historic or educational markers of our legacy of slavery and segregation, but in celebration of it. I believe we must remember all of our history, but we need not revere it. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future. We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past.”


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