New Orleans is continuing the removal of historical monuments that the city deemed racially offensive, dismantling a statue honoring Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard Tuesday night. The statue, a bronze replica of Beauregard on horseback located near the entrance of City Park, is the third of four scheduled for removal.
A crowd of approximately 200 watched as crews worked under floodlights to saw the 14-foot-tall statue from its base. After workers cleared the area around the monument, a crane and other heavy equipment was moved into place to hoist the statue from its pedestal.
Supporters and opponents of the statue remained separated by a police barricade with some in the pro-statue group waving Confederate flags. Except for shouting at one another, the crowd was mostly subdued.
Critics have condemned the public memorials to Beauregard and other heroes of the U.S. Civil War’s pro-slavery Confederacy as offensive to the ideals of multi-racial tolerance and diversity in the city, which has a majority black population.
Supporters of the historical monuments argue that the statues symbolize New Orleans’ Southern heritage.
A 2015 vote by the City Council ordered the removal of monuments honoring two of the best-know generals of the Confederacy—Beauregard and Robert E. Lee—as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis and a 19th-century white supremacist militia.
Taken down on April 24, the Crescent City White League monument was the first to be removed, with the Davis statue following on May 11. Next on the removal schedule is the Lee memorial, although officials have avoided publishing removal dates in advance.
In a Monday editorial published in The Washington Post, Mayor Mitch Landrieu defended his support for removing the monuments, calling it one of his proudest moments in public office.
“Removing New Orleans’s Confederate monuments from places of prominence is an acknowledgment that it is time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history,” Landrieu wrote.
On Monday, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed legislation that would require local governments to hold referendums prior to removing any Confederate monuments.
According to Richard Marksbury, a Tulane University professor and member of the Monumental Task Committee that fought to save the Confederate monuments, the bill would not prohibit New Orleans from proceeding with removal of the four designated historical monuments.
BREAKING—New Orleans has taken down a statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard, the 3rd Confederate statue removed in 4 weeks pic.twitter.com/9QUsDANvsH
— Fusion (@Fusion) May 17, 2017
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