The Latest: Mayor: Confederacy was on wrong side of humanity - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

The Latest: Mayor: Confederacy was on wrong side of humanity

By Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Latest on the removal of Confederate-related monuments from New Orleans (all times local):

4 p.m.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared that the Confederacy was "on the wrong side of humanity" as he delivered a speech on the city's decision to remove four Confederate monuments from public view.

Friday afternoon's speech came as workers continued their efforts to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the towering pedestal it has occupied on a New Orleans traffic circle since 1884.

The City Council approved Landrieu's proposal to remove the monuments in 2015.

Landrieu said Friday that the monuments represent a "sanitized" view of the Confederacy. He added that they were erected years after the Civil War ended by people who wanted to show that white supremacy still held sway in the city.

"These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history," Landrieu said. "These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for."

2:20 pm.

Workers backed by a crane have tied ropes around a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which has perched atop a 60-foot (18 meter)-high pedestal in a traffic circle where it has been since 1884. Friday's removal effort comes after a long and divisive battle over whether old South emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.

While many were supportive of removal, opinions varied widely in the crowd of hundreds that gathered to watch Friday.

Many said it was time for the statue to come down. But Frank Varela Jr., a New Orleans native carrying an American flag, said he thought Lee should stay up as "a part of the South."

"It's part of history. It's a part of my heritage," said Varela. "I was born and raised here. It's been here all my life ... When we came back from Katrina it was here. It's survived every hurricane this city has ever seen."

Police on horseback lined up nearby as a security precaution and traffic was diverted away from the area. But those protesters opposed to removal were few as the removal work wore on Friday afternoon - though some shouted against it from the crowd.

For many others, it was a time for festivities. Bystander Brittnie Grasmick danced to the song "Another One Bites the Dust." Some brought out lawn chairs to watch, entertained by a trumpeter who played "Dixie" - but in a minor key.

10:45 a.m.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says taking down a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will allow his city to "heal and become the city we always should have been."

Lee's statue comes down Friday, the last of four Confederate-related statues to be removed from public property in the Louisiana city.

Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon. He says in an interview with The Associated Press that "we don't want these statues in places of reverence; they need to be in places of remembrance."

Three other Confederacy-related statues were removed at night. The mayor says the Lee statue is coming down in the daytime because officials couldn't guarantee the safety of construction workers from nearby electrical lines if they worked at night.

9:45 a.m.

About 100 people were on hand as a huge crane arrived at the New Orleans monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A statue of Lee was slated for removal Friday from atop a 60-foot-high pedestal where it was been since 1884. It's the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures the city is removing.

Opinions on the removal varied and crossed racial lines.

A racially mixed group held signs supporting removal.

One onlooker, John Renner, a white man and an Illinois native, said the statue should remain because it represents history.

Al Kennedy, also white and a former New Orleans school board member, supported removal. Kennedy says he loves his native South. Of the Confederate past, he says: "It's my history, but it's not my heritage."

8:15 a.m.

The city of New Orleans is taking down a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, completing the Southern city's removal of four Confederate-related statues that some called divisive.

Lee commanded Confederate armies against the United States in the Civil War and is a revered figure among supporters of the old South. But the Louisiana city will take down a prominent statue of Lee on Friday.

City officials are trying to divorce New Orleans from symbols celebrating the Confederacy. Many Southern areas have done the same since nine black parishioners were fatally shot in 2015 by an avowed racist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

New Orleans has already removed statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Crews also took down a monument memorializing a deadly white supremacist uprising in 1874.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Hundreds attend Biloxi Memorial Day service

    Hundreds attend Biloxi Memorial Day service

    Monday, May 29 2017 4:28 PM EDT2017-05-29 20:28:42 GMT
    The Memorial Day ceremony usually held on the grounds of the Biloxi National Cemetery was moved indoors because of the threat of rain Monday. (Photo source: WLOX)The Memorial Day ceremony usually held on the grounds of the Biloxi National Cemetery was moved indoors because of the threat of rain Monday. (Photo source: WLOX)

    In Biloxi Monday, there was a fitting tribute to the country's fighting men and women. Hundreds came to offer respect, praise, and prayers for those Americans who gave up the most precious gift of all: their lives. 

    More >>

    In Biloxi Monday, there was a fitting tribute to the country's fighting men and women. Hundreds came to offer respect, praise, and prayers for those Americans who gave up the most precious gift of all: their lives. 

    More >>
  • Gulfport remembers fallen heroes, Gold Star families

    Gulfport remembers fallen heroes, Gold Star families

    Monday, May 29 2017 3:02 PM EDT2017-05-29 19:02:40 GMT
    Military veterans gather at Barksdale Pavilion in Gulfport for a Memorial Day service (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)Military veterans gather at Barksdale Pavilion in Gulfport for a Memorial Day service (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)

    Community leaders from around Gulfport gathered at Barksdale Pavilion to remember fallen war heroes. This year, the annual Memorial Day ceremony saluted Gold Star families. About 100 people participated in the VFW event.

    More >>

    Community leaders from around Gulfport gathered at Barksdale Pavilion to remember fallen war heroes. This year, the annual Memorial Day ceremony saluted Gold Star families. About 100 people participated in the VFW event.

    More >>
  • Gautier crowd focuses on sacrifice, freedom & remembrance

    Gautier crowd focuses on sacrifice, freedom & remembrance

    Monday, May 29 2017 2:54 PM EDT2017-05-29 18:54:16 GMT
    Legion Commander Flo Henderson said we must not only remember and appreciate the sacrifice of those who died, we must also care for the loved ones they left behind. (Photo source: WLOX)Legion Commander Flo Henderson said we must not only remember and appreciate the sacrifice of those who died, we must also care for the loved ones they left behind. (Photo source: WLOX)

    Legion Commander Flo Henderson said we must not only remember and appreciate the sacrifice of those who died, we must also care for the loved ones they left behind.

    More >>

    Legion Commander Flo Henderson said we must not only remember and appreciate the sacrifice of those who died, we must also care for the loved ones they left behind.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly