Contractors dressed in flak jackets and helmets took down one of New Orleans’ Confederate monuments early Monday morning.
It was removed with no notice in the middle of the night, partly because the process has been so controversial. Protestors and supporters of the Liberty Place monument yelled as it was removed. The obelisk was put up in the 1800's by a white supremacy group.
Tucked on a back street near the Aquarium, it was the first of four the city plans to remove.
The last time the city planned to take such monuments down a contractor’s car was fire bombed. There have been death threats. Supporters say the monuments are part of the city’s history.
But at a press conference, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says times have changed, “The removal of these statues send a clear message, an unequivocal message to the people of new Orleans and the people of the nation, that New Orleans celebrates our diversity."
He says three more statues will soon be removed – those of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard – as well as President Jefferson Davis. The monuments will be put into storage and may eventually be placed in a museum.