Confederate monument debate continues as one statue is taken down secretly


Battle of Liberty Place Monument was one of the four confederate monuments that are up for removal.

Lester Duhé

With city officials removing the Battle of Liberty Place Monument early Monday morning, the hype around the confederate monuments strengthens as locals criticize the way it was removed.

Workers began to dismantle the monument around 2 a.m. Workers wore masks and tactical vests, while snipers were positioned on nearby roofs. Company names on trucks and equipment were covered with cardboard to protect the contractors who were involved in the operation.

The Liberty Place Monument stood over 35 feet tall, right outside the Shops at Canal Place’s parking garage, and is one of the four civil war era confederate monuments that are scheduled to be taken down in the coming weeks. The only thing that remains is the pedestal that once supported the monument.

Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans’ mayor,  said that the monument was originally erected in 1891 to honor members of the crescent city white league. In 1874, they fought in the reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia.

“We will no longer allow the confederacy, to literally be put on a pedestal, in the heart of our city,” Landrieu said during a press conference on April 25.

Despite what the Mayor Landrieu said, opinions are heated as ever. It seems what’s causing the most concern is how the monument was taken down.

“I’m a big buff of history, being a former teacher. So, I don’t understand the reasoning,” said Judy Brown, a tourist from Gulf shores visiting New Orleans

Stephanie Ramelli’s father is a descendent of P.G.T. Beauregard, who was the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. She’s nervous that his statue located in City Park will be the one they want to remove next.

“It’s one of the ones they want to tear down. Regardless of how you feel about the people or what the monuments stand for, it’s not right to erase history,” she said.

Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee, said that he doesn’t think the city took appropriate action in taking the statues.

“They took them down, they carted it off, in and out, in about five hours. It was really scary, it was like Gestapo in the night,” McGraw said. “City representatives wearing masks and being under the cover of snipers, to do some kind of dark deed at night time. You have to ask yourself, what’s next? If they’re going to take these down for these heroic figures, then everything’s game.”

Leonard Johnson, New Orleans resident, doesn’t have an opinion on the monuments, but said it is time to move on.

“I don’t think they going to bring it back and put it back in place. It’s going to go down in history as a statue that was removed,”Johnson said. “If we don’t let go of the past, we’ll never get to the future. I live from my heart and if everybody did that, then we wouldn’t have these differences in life,” Johnson said.

There are three more monuments that are scheduled to be taken down, but because of threats to contractors and city officials, the mayor is not saying an exact time as to when they will be removed.