One More To Go: New Orleans Takes Down Civil War General's Statue


The city of New Orleans officially removed the P.G.T. Beauregard monument at City Park early Wednesday.

The removal comes after the city had already taken down a statue of the confederacy's only president and one other memorial.

The statue at the main entrance to the 1,300-acre City Park is one of four that the City Council and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have targeted for removal in an attempt to put post-Civil War divisions to rest.

City council members approved the removal plan in December 2015, and after more than a year of court battles, removal began last month as workers removed the Liberty Place monument.

"Today we take another step in defining our City not by our past but by our bright future", New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a news release.

It's been nearly 18 months since the New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 to remove three monuments to Confederate leaders and one monument to a Reconstruction-era white supremacist revolt, but the formidable structures have only started coming down during the past few weeks. In his ruling, Reese pointed to the outcomes in other lawsuits granting the city permission to remove the statues. People in kayaks and canoes could be seen at times watching workers prepare the statue for removal.

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Monument supporters said the statues remember and honor history.

The final monument, Robert E. Lee, remains.

"It is through acts of courage and standing for what is right that we will build the city of our dreams", Landrieu said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Beauregard monument has been at the center of a legal battle, launched by the Monumental Task Committee, a group aiming for the statues to remain in place.

"To me, they are a historic landmark in the city, like a placeholder that has survived countless hurricanes", said a man who only identified himself as George. Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, shot and killed nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was moved from busy Canal Street to a more obscure location in the 1990s, with a plaque calling for racial harmony.

Beauregard's statue, near City Park, was erected in 1915 in honor of the prominent general who led the attack on Fort Sumter in SC, a siege that marked the beginning of the Civil War. "How the city can get away with moving a 102-year-old monument, against the advice of the Lt. Governor and Attorney General, and without first proving ownership, defies any sort of logic.". In a statement, the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association said it's not aware of any evidence that it owns the monument.