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Mayor Mitch Landrieu made sure work was completed as fast as possible to prevent state preemption
Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was not going quietly Friday morning in New Orleans, as the crane set to remove his statue from the 60-foot column he stands atop struggled to get up the hill around the monument.
The dismantling of the final of four monuments City Council deemed public nuisances was slated to begin at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m., with barricades established the previous afternoon to prevent protests from getting too close.
Previous removals included snipers on roofs and workers in body armor.
“Recent events reveal the psychological significance of these confederate monuments very clearly,” said Anika Ofori, Green Party of New Orleans organizer and Green Party of the U.S. Black Caucus member, in a statement. “Removing these monuments to a place where their history is recognized, as Confederates, can be achieved in appropriate location.”
Where that location is exactly the city isn’t sure, so the monuments will be crated and boxed in a warehouse until a museum or site is selected.
Lee’s column will remain in place, along with a pool installed around it. There are plans to feature public art around the space in 2018.
On Monday, the Louisiana House passed a bill largely along party lines that would block the removal of Confederate monuments, prompting the 24-member Legislative Black Caucus to walk out in disgust. The Senate will consider the bill next, with two similar bills still in legislative committees.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu made sure work was completed as fast as possible to prevent state preemption from blocking removal of the four statues.
“Sadly, this is nothing new,” said David Bryan, local Green Party member, in a statement. “It is clear that the state legislature identifies with monied interests at the expense of the state’s most vulnerable and largely African American citizens.”
Landrieu plans to deliver remarks concerning the last statue’s removal and “Lost Cause of the Confederacy,” which he’s labeled a cult, at 3 p.m.
The livestream will be here:
While the mayor’s work may be done, activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA has identified at least 20 other monuments as racist and in need of removal—criticizing Landrieu’s patchwork approach.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.