NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Crews have finished their work to remove the P.G.T. Beauregard monument from near the entrance to City Park.
Crews removed the statue featuring the former Confederate General on his horse and the front of the pedestal featuring his name, title, dates of birth and death.
Crews using power tools sent sparks flying before finally separating the statue from the pedestal. The pieces were then loaded onto a large flatbed truck by a large yellow crane.
The crews, wearing masks and helmets began their work around 8 p.m. Tuesday and the statue was finally removed around 3:15 a.m.
Earlier, officers on foot moved several protesters from the immediate area around the statue as officers on horseback patrolled. A K-9 unit could also be seen walking around the monument. The entrance to City Park on Lelong Drive was blocked, and several NOPD units were staged at the Shell gas station. Work lights aimed at the statue were blazing.
Police made three arrests and one summons was issued overnight while the monument was being removed.
- One man was arrested and charged with assault.
- A man and a woman were arrested and charged with public intoxication and setting a trash fire
- One summons was issued for crossing a police cordon
A brief scuffle broke out between two men before the protesters were dispersed. One of them was taken away by EMS with what appeared to be a minor injury while the other man was placed in a police cruiser.
Several people were arrested around 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday after burning a flag on Esplanade near the monument. Police officers mounted on horses were called in to help protect the area.
The removal process impacted traffic as several blocks near the monument were closed. Wisner Boulevard and North Carrollton Avenue have reopened approaching the former monument site. Esplanade Avenue from Moss Street to the entrance to City Park has also reopened.
Malcolm Suber of 'Take 'em Down NOLA said he is happy to see the third of four statues come down.:
"We very happy to see this thing go down and of course we still have Robert E Lee to go," Suber said. "And again we are appealing to the mayor to make this a daytime take down so that people can come out and celebrate with their families."
Suber said many people brought their children to witness "a truly historic moment."
Crews wrapped the statue in several pieces of bubble wrap and then strapped it to a crane, only to have to unstrap it and try again. Six hours after work started on removing the monument, P.G.T. Beauregard was still in place. It would come down at 3:15 a.m.
"The third confederate statue is now down. Another step forward for our city," Mayor Mitch Landrieu tweeted shortly after the statue was removed.
Tuesday afternoon, members of the Monumental Task Committee said that the group had no standing to file in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to seek preservation of the P.G.T. Beauregard monument as planned - only the City Park Improvement Association could do that because City Park owns the land.
That revelation came at a news conference held near the park's entrance where the statue stands. The group is now lobbying lawmakers to pass HB 71, which seeks to preserve all military monuments. The Senate will hear the bill next.
On Monday, Members of Louisiana's Legislative Black Caucus said their colleagues showed a lack of leadership by advancing HB 71.
"This is not about patriotism. I support our veterans, I support people who fought for the United States, but what I don't support is white supremacy," said Rep. C. Denise Marcelle (D-Baton Rouge).
Every African-American member of the house left the floor in protest Monday after the bill passed by a vote of 65-to-31.
"My bill in its current posture is a perfect exercise of democracy. Allows people to have their input in the decision to remove the monuments from the public spaces in which they live," said Rep. Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport).
City Park officials released the following statement Tuesday evening:
"The issues regarding the Beauregard Monument and its location are complicated. New Orleans City Park Improvement Association is not aware of any definitive evidence that the NOCPIA owns the Gen. P.G. T. Beauregard Monument. Following the passage of an ordinance approved by the City Council and signed by Mayor Landrieu in December of 2015, a decision was made by the City to remove the century-old monument from its current location.
Mayor Landrieu has clearly indicated that the removal of the monument is imminent, and we hope it will be done safely and that all parties while exercising their first amendment rights, respect the laws of our city and state.
The City has acknowledged NOCPIA's authority to own, manage, and maintain New Orleans City Park property. The NOCPIA has asserted its rights on this matter, including the property upon which the monument sits, and the dialogue regarding those rights with the City is ongoing."