NEW ORLEANS -- It took about 12 and a half hours to pull the statue of Robert E. Lee from its pedestal at Lee Circle where it stood for 133 years. The Confederate-era monument is the fourth and final statue that the city targeted for removal.
The monuments may now be out of public sight but the public debate surrounding them continues. The monument came down Friday to cheering crowds celebrating the end of the monuments' reign in downtown New Orleans. But there was a much smaller crowd that gathered at the monument’s new home in New Orleans East and they were not happy to see where the statue ended up.
Crews spent around 12 hours taking the statue down and another hour loading it onto a flatbed truck. With a police escort that truck then took I-10 East to a city maintenance yard. We first alerted you that the city was keeping monuments there on Wednesday. Since then crews have begun building a shelter around the Beauregard Monument. It appears the shelter will house Lee as well. Mayor Landrieu repeatedly said the statues would be kept in a warehouse. Several monument supporters came out to watch Lee brought into the yard and they were not happy to see where the city is storing the statues.
“This housing facility for the monuments is a junk yard of old beat up police cars and old beat up ambulances and what not,” Alexander Jones said. “I think it’s pretty disrespectful for Mayor Landrieu to leave these historic monuments and precious artifacts here next to a pile of trash as if they were themselves a pile of trash.”
Others say the monuments have been outside for over a hundred years. They don’t see an issue with the statues sitting outside in the maintenance yard now. Still no word on how long the statues will stay there or where they’ll go next.