City of New Orleans removes Jefferson Davis monument

Jefferson Monument being taken down by city
The Jefferson Davis monument on Canal St. is seen just behind a crane preparing to take the statue down. (FOX 8)
The Jefferson Davis monument on Canal St. is seen just behind a crane preparing to take the statue down. (FOX 8)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A crane moved down Canal St. near the Jefferson Davis monument around 3 a.m. on Thursday as it appeared the statue would be taken down.

Workers wrapped the statue in bubble wrap before moving it. The process of removing the statue was completed shortly after 5 a.m. Protesters almost immediately dispersed after the statue was loaded onto a truck. The pedestal was removed around 10:45 a.m.

As the statue soared above the neutral ground, a crowd of anti-monument protesters cheered in victory, holding signs and reveling as their counterparts looked on.

Some looked in anger, some watched in sadness and some still holding a salute to the confederate leader as the statue's reign over the intersection of Jefferson Davis Pkwy. and Canal St. came to an end.

As the crew of unknown workers tried to remove the stone pedestal, it proved too stubborn for hours. Workers tried to figure out how to lift the unwieldy rock, even repositioning the crane to attack at a better angle. After hours of work, the crew sat bewildered and seemingly stumped trying to figure out how they would remove the last vestige of Jefferson Davis from Mid-City

Canal St. lakebound reopened after crews removed the statue. Riverbound remained closed for a few hours but has since reopened..

After the statue was removed, crews wrapped a strap around part of the pedestal preparing to remove it.

A crane attempted to raise the pedestal but stopped before it was completely removed. Officials said the crane needed to be moved closer to the pedestal to provide more leverage.

Police barricaded off the area near the monument as officers pushed protesters to the opposite side of the street.

Monument supporters and anti-monument protesters faced off just feet away from each other separated by barricades.

The Regional Transit Authority said the streetcar line on Canal St. near Jefferson Davis Parkway will be blocked off until approximately 9 a.m.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Wednesday the city had cleared all legal hurdles and the statues would continue to come down. P.G.T Beauregard was at the center of a legal dispute involving whether it was located on New Orleans City Park property. A judge ruled in favor of the city.

"Three weeks ago, we began a challenging but long overdue process of removing four statues that honor the 'Lost Cause of the Confederacy.' Today we continue the mission," Landrieu said. "These monuments have stood not as historic or educational markers of our legacy of slavery and segregation, but in celebration of it. I believe we must remember all of our history, but we need not revere it."

Landrieu also said putting the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of the city's most prominent places is "not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present."

The Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, was erected in 1911 in honor of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. It was commissioned by the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association.

The Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle on St. Charles Ave. is the other Confederate-area monument still standing.

The Liberty Place monument in the CBD was removed several weeks ago.

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