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New Orleans Removes Jefferson Davis Statue

13 Mai 2017

Jefferson Davis' statue has lost the Battle of New Orleans and the monument of the former Confederate president was removed from the corner of Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway before dawn on Thursday.

"This morning, we continue our march to reconciliation by removing the Jefferson Davis Confederate statue from its pedestal of reverence", said Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Twitter.

Crews wore dark clothing, helmets and body armor, as they did during the Liberty monument removal. As opponents of the move shouted "totalitarianism", workers removed the 6-foot statue from its 12-foot pedestal and put it on a trailer to be moved to a city warehouse, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The City Council voted in 2015 to remove the four monuments but the process has been stalled in the courts. "We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past", he said.

Some of the pro-monument demonstrators chanted "Mitch for prison" - a reference to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu who is backing the monuments' removal. He hopes Landrieu makes good on a pledge to ensure that the monuments wind up in a museum or some other place where they can be viewed in a historical context. Crews surrounded the statue of Jefferson Davis after midnight Thursday.

The Davis statue is the second of four public, Confederate monuments set to be dismantled throughout the city, in a process that began in 2015 and has been met with extreme shows of support and opposition. Davis was the president of the Confederate States during the US Civil War, and a prosperous farmer with a cotton plantation and owned 74 slaves. They are an inaccurate recitation of our past, an affront to our present and a poor prescription for our future.

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News of Jeff Davis coming down spread quickly Wednesday evening after the principal of Morris Jeff Community School sent a letter to parents asking them to drop their children off at a different entrance due to the removal of the monument.

He attributed the strong police presence at the site to "consistent threats, harassments and intimidation tactics" that have greeted the plans to remove the monuments.

The New Orleans monuments slated for removal were all erected between 1884 and 1915, a period when lynchings spiked and some of the most vicious Jim Crow laws were enacted. It is unclear when the last two removals will take place. The statue, nearly 17-feet tall and standing on a 68-foot pedestal, weighs more than 3 tons.

For more than 100 years, there was also a prominent statue of Davis in New Orleans.

To the monument's defenders, however, they represent an important link to the city's history and taking them down is equivalent to ripping out pages from a textbook.

Landrieu's office has not revealed when these two remaining statues will come down, citing safety concerns.

New Orleans Removes Jefferson Davis Statue