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While some Southern states still officially honor their ‘Lost Cause’ history, the Crescent City is choosing to instead promote diversity on Confederate Memorial Day.
The city of New Orleans rang in Confederate Memorial Day on Monday by removing its most controversial, racially charged monument to the Battle of Liberty Place.
Under the cover of darkness around 2 a.m., a crew in bulletproof vests, helmets and masks and covered by snipers on a parking deck began their work.
The memorial was erected to honor members of the Crescent White League, who revolted against the city’s and Louisiana’s racially integrated police force and militia respectively.
“In New Orleans we should truly remember all of our history, not some of it,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in front of the city’s memorial to fallen officers later in the day. “And that means we will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city.”
Landrieu read the names of the officers killed by white supremacists in the revolt, commemorated by a monument to the “lost cause of the Confederacy” as he called it.
Mississippi and Alabama still close government offices for Confederate Memorial Day, as does Georgia though it removed any reference to the Confederacy. South Carolina celebrates the holiday, but in May.
Removing just four of the city’s 20-plus contested monuments took a lengthy federal court tussle, and details on “sooner-than-later” removal of the other three are being kept under wraps—though the funding is in place.
“Due to the intense level of threats and intimidation by those who seek to keep these statues standing, we will not be sharing these details now or in the future,” Landrieu said. “But let me be clear, we will not be deterred.”
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.