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New Orleans: Next Confederate statue falls to cheers, jeers

18 May 2017

General P.G.T. Beauregard's long ride at the entrance of New Orleans' City Park came to an end late Tuesday night when workers took down the historic statue, among four Confederate monuments being removed despite protests. The process began before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

"Today we take another step in defining our city not by our past but by our bright future", said Landrieu.

In a statement, the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association said it's not aware of any evidence that it owns the monument. Pro-monument groups were separated from monument protestors with metal barricades - similar to the setup at Jefferson Davis - and with occasional yelling matches between the groups. It was the third of four such monuments to be removed in the city.

City officials won't say when the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle will be removed, citing serious safety concerns posed by "widely-known intimidation, threats, and violence".

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A fourth Confederate statue, that of General Robert E. Lee, remains standing in downtown New Orleans.

However, earlier Tuesday, City Park officials said they could not find documentation that the park owns the statue, clearing the way for the statue to be removed.

Workers took down a Confederate monument to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard in New Orleans early Wednesday as onlookers watched from lawn chairs, defiant statue supporters waved Confederate battle flags and opponents celebrated. That's a lesson you can teach that's a better lesson than saying oh we're going to destroy this iconic piece of New Orleans architecture or sculpture in order to try to position the mayor for a presidential race.

The removal of the monuments was prompted by the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a SC church. "Mayor Landrieu has clearly indicated that the removal of the monument is imminent", the statement said, "and we hope it will be done safely and that all parties, while exercising their first amendment rights, respect the laws of our city and state". When the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was finally lifted from its pedestal, a cheer erupted from dozens of demonstrators who'd waited for hours to see the city fulfill its promise. According to the New Orleans Advocate, the band arrived around 1:15 a.m. and featured an assortment of brass players from different groups.

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The monument was shown off for the first time to a crowd of hundreds - most being relatives of Confederate veterans - during closing ceremonies for the annual convention and reunion of the Louisiana Division of United Confederate Veterans, The Picayune reported.

Efforts to remove Confederate statues are underway in other parts of the South.

For supporters, the works are a way to remember and honor history. "They said they wanted them in a museum, well we're a museum".

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