NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Piece by piece, New Orleans’ landscape is changing as city workers take down massive works of bronze and stone that once seemed immoveable in a region where some still cling to a Confederate legacy.
The city announced late Tuesday that it had begun the process of removing a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard – the third of four monuments city officials plan to take down across the city. The news release came as police cordoned off the site and what appeared to be a large crane was moved into position. It was not clear how long it would take to remove the massive bronze likeness of Beauregard on horseback.
“Today we take another step in defining our City not by our past but by our bright future,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a news release. “While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans.”
Landrieu called for the monuments’ removal in the lingering emotional aftermath of the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos, recharging the debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.
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