Associated Press, May 11, 2017
Early on Thursday morning, workers in New Orleans removed a statue of the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, the second of four monuments slated for removal in a contentious, months-long process that has sparked protests on both sides.
As the statue was lifted from its perch on a grassy median along one of the city’s main thoroughfares, a cheer went up from some of the dozens of protesters who had been pushing for the monument’s removal. It was then lowered behind trucks encircled around the monument’s base and out of view of the media.
Removal of the statue – a larger-than-life image of Davis atop an ornate granite pedestal roughly 15ft high – follows recent protests at the site by supporters and opponents of the monuments. City officials had refused to give advance public notice of the work because of threats of violence against contractors and workers involved in the effort.
Dozens of protesters both supporting the monuments and calling for their removal stayed up overnight to watch the proceedings. The demonstrators, separated by metal barriers set up by the police, heckled each other from opposite sides of the barricade. About 50 police officers encircled the monument and kept watch on the protesters.
Late last month, the first structure – a 35ft-tall granite obelisk known as the Liberty Place monument – was removed by masked workers under cover of darkness.
Also slated for removal are a bronze statue of the Confederate general PGT Beauregard on horseback, completed in 1915, which sits atop a stone platform at the entrance to the city’s largest park and museum of art; and a statue of Gen Robert E Lee.
New Orleans is a predominantly black city of nearly 390,000. The statues were erected well before the civil rights era, which brought African Americans to political power. The city council, now majority black, voted 6-1 to take the monuments down.
Landrieu, a white Democrat, was elected in 2010 and re-elected four years later with strong biracial support.