Dueling Protests as Jefferson Davis Monument Removed in New Orleans

Crews in protective attire worked around the clock to remove a statue of the Confederate leader.

  • Published 11 May 2017

In the early hours of 11 May 2017, a statue of Jefferson Davis (the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War) was removed in New Orleans, the second Confederate monument to be uninstalled in the city.

Crowds both in opposition to and in support of the monument to Jefferson Davis were present when work crews appeared at around 3 A.M., NBC News reported:

Due to the risk of repercussions, crews wearing masks and protective helmets arrived in the dead of night with no warning or announcement, and the company name on their truck had been blacked out. The monument was protected in bubble wrap, attached to a crane and lifted off its plinth.

A large cheer erupted when the statue was finally lifted into the air. The term “Jefferson Davis” was also the top-trending term across the U.S. on Thursday morning.

A local news outlet reported that crowds had stood in support of the Jefferson Davis statue, as well as another confederate monument, for weeks:

The city also did not announce either statues’ removal. In a statement, the city said it does not plan to announce removal plans or a timeline for the two remaining monuments — P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park and Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle — due to the “widely known intimidation, threats, and violence.” … Monument supporters — who have camped at the site for the last two weeks — waved Confederate flags across the street from the statue. Supporters and opponents were separated by barricades, similar to how NOPD organized protesters at Lee Circle on May 7.

The debate was so contentious that another monument, which had been installed to honor the anti-integration Crescent City White League, had to be removed in the dead of night “by crews wearing masks and body armor,” according to reports.

In an 11 May 2017 statement about the removals, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said:

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. 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. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future. We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past.

The City remains secretive about plans to address remaining monuments.

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