A statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard was removed from its prominent perch in New Orleans overnight, the third of four such monuments targeted by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.
Located at the intersection of Carrollton and Esplanade Avenues — near the terminus of the City Park streetcar line and the New Orleans Museum of Art — the equestrian statue had stood since 1915.
The move comes just one day after the Louisiana House passed a bill, largely along racial lines, that would require voter approval before cities could remove such monuments. That bill hasn’t yet been approved by the state senate.
Landrieu in 2015 announced plans to remove four Confederate monuments from the city’s public spaces: the P.G.T. Beauregard statue; a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis; a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle; and the “Battle of Liberty Place” monument, which commemorated a white supremacist uprising against the city’s racially-integrated Reconstruction government following the Civil War.
City council members approved the removal plan in December 2015, and after more than a year of court battles, removal began last month as workers removed the Liberty Place monument. The Jefferson Davis statue came down last week.
“Today we take another step in defining our city not by our past but by our bright future,” said Landrieu. “While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans. As we near our city’s 300th anniversary, we must continue to find courage to stand up to hate and embrace justice and compassion.”
Crews began the process of dismantling the Beauregard statue — which stands about 15 feet tall and weighs between 12,000 and 14,000 pounds — around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Workers first hoisted the statue off its pedestal about seven hours later, just after 3:00 a.m.
Of the four monuments, it’s the Beauregard statue which has the most direct connection with New Orleans. Best known for commanding Confederate forces at Charleston, S.C. at the start of the war and for his victories at Bull Run and Petersburg, Beauregard was born in nearby St. Bernard Parish and died in New Orleans.
City officials won’t say when the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle will be removed, citing serious safety concerns posed by “widely-known intimidation, threats, and violence.”