Lee statue is final monument "celebrating white supremacy" removed in New Orleans

Lee monument in New Orleans will be the fourth and final confederate-era monument to be taken down by the city on Friday.

(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. The mass shooting recharged debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.

"Robert E. Lee stood atop New Orleans for 133 years as one of the most well-respected men and military minds of American history until a politician with self-serving motives launched a toxic crusade to rewrite the city's history", said a statement from the Monumental Task Committee, who has challenged the statue removals at every turn, through legal and legislative channels.

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".

Early Wednesday, the equestrian statue of Confederate Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, who died in New Orleans in 1893, came down.

Efforts to remove Confederate statues are underway in other parts of the South, including in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a Robert E. Lee statue is scheduled to be removed. As air was seen between Lee's statue and the pedestal below it, a cheer went out from the crowd who recorded the history with their phones and shook hands with each other in congratulations.

The decision to remove the statues came in December 2015 after a white supremacist shot dead nine black worshippers at a SC church.

New Orleans, he said, is still a city with high incarceration rates, high crime rates and bad poverty.

The city plans to have extra security around the Lee statue Friday and will cordon off a one-block radius around Lee Circle to cars in anticipation of protests.

While critics have argued that the monuments are "divisive", many residents believe that the removals are erasing its history.

Of those symbols, 718 were statues or monuments like those in New Orleans, some explicitly extolling the cause of the Confederacy. The Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity.

While the previous three monuments were removed under cover of darkness in part because workers had received death threats for carrying out the city's plan, Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered that the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee be brought down in broad daylight Friday.

The hours-long process of removing the statue of the Confederate general who symbolized Southern resistance in the Civil War ended late Friday afternoon as a crane lifted the statue from its perch.

The selection process would require public bids, only nonprofits and governmental entities can bid on the statues, they must be displayed in historical context and the statues cannot be displayed outdoors on public property in Orleans Parish.

There was also an incident where someone in a auto took a flag from a monument supporter.

The city plans to leave the column where Lee's statue stood intact and will mount public art in its place. Louisiana's Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser this week reached out to Landrieu to ask the city to work with his office to find a location "befitting" the statues.



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