There were hints yesterday that the city of New Orleans would begin the process of removing four controversial monuments overnight. These rumors proved to be true. Over night workers removed the monument commemorating the battle of Liberty Place in 1874.
Media coverage references this monument as a Confederate monument, but it would be more accurate to understand it as commemorating a violent act of terrorism that took place in New Orleans in 1874. We would do well to acknowledge this as we make our way through the 150th anniversary of Reconstruction.
I suspect that the city intentionally chose to remove this one first before moving on to Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard. It doesn’t look like too many people were present at the Liberty Place site, which may reflect that it is the most controversial of the four. Most people who came out seem to have congregated at one of the other three monuments. Ultimately, the distinction between the Liberty Place monument and the other three is a difficult one to defend.
Once all four are removed it will represent the most complete and dramatic transformation of a major city’s commemorative landscape to the Confederacy and white supremacy that we have seen thus far.