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20 May 2017, 09:36 | Terri Saunders
Final Confederate monument to come down in New Orleans
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.
Police are placing barricades around Lee Circle, possibly in preparation for the monument's removal.
(AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld). A statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is removed just after 3 a.m. The city of New Orleans plans to take down the confederate statue on Friday, May 18, 2017, completing the so.
"Because it's the last of these statues, it needs to come down".
City officials said in a statement Tuesday evening that the Beauregard monument, the third Confederate monument targeted for removal, would be removed over the next few hours.
Celebrated New Orleans trumpet player Terence Blanchard told Nola.comThe Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/2rqKQWv) that he came to watch with his wife and two daughters when he learned the statue was coming down.
The Robert E. Lee statue was a familiar landmark for tourists and commuters who travel busy St. Charles Avenue by vehicle or on one of the city's historic streetcars.
However, the crowd would have to wait.
The decision to remove the statues came in December 2015 after a white supremacist shot dead nine black worshippers at a SC church. That recharged the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.
Landrieu drew blistering criticism from monument supporters and even some political allies. "That we'll take them over here.' That we'll revere them and make them apart of our narrative and to continue to teach about the history" and I think this is this is the most appropriate place for it".
Sen. Hank Sanders, a Selma Democrat, says the bill protects monuments that represent "oppression to a large part of the people in the state".
"After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism, as much as burning a cross on someone's lawn. These monuments were erected purposefully to show who was still in charge of the city".
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. The statue, designed by New York-based sculptor Alexander Doyle, was placed atop a 60-foot-tall granite column and cost $10,000.
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Friday's removal - in daylight, with the timing announced a day beforehand - contrasts with the first three, which happened in the dark of night or early morning with little notice.
Now only one, the most recent statue, is dedicated to an African American.
The atmosphere Friday was nearly festive as dozens of people, some with lawn chairs, came out to see what many called history in the making.
More than 700 Confederate monuments remain on public property across the nation, with the majority dedicated or built before 1950, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
But others criticized the move.
The City Council voted 6-1 in 2015 to remove the monuments after several contentious public meetings marred by heckling and debate.
The city turns 300 in 2018.
In a speech about the removal of the monuments, the mayor said they were landmarks that were not a true reflection of the city. Contractors involved in the removal process have been threatened; statue supporters sued repeatedly to keep the statues up. One camp denounces the monuments as tributes to white supremacists. The city already has removed the statue of the Confederacy's only president and a memorial to a white rebellion against a biracial Reconstruction-era government in the city.
And he acknowledged one of the contentions of his critics: that if New Orleans fails to take steps to remedy race relations and other ills after the monuments' removal, "all of this would have been in vain".
Late Thursday night, officers arrested a man who claimed to be the "Lord and Savior". "We can not be afraid of the truth", said Landrieu, who along with other city leaders chose to take down the monuments in 2015, a decision that withstood challenges in federal court.
The statues will be put in storage while the city looks for a suitable place to display them, CNN reported.
Stoney wants to add historical context to the monuments so visitors and residents get a better idea who the statues depict and what they stood for. But he insisted the statues must go.
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