Early Monday in New Orleans, workers employed by the city began removing four major Confederate monuments. According to the official statement, it's the city's way of moving itself away from symbols that represent white supremacy and racism.
The first memorial was removed around 1:25 A.M. The removal time was explicitly set at a very early schedule to avoid disruption from those who are not in favor of removing such monuments. According to the city officials, the city still has strong supporters of the Confederate memorials and they have even received death threats.
The first workers to arrive at the location were the inspectors, who could easily be identified because of the helmets and flak jackets they were wearing. Police officers were also standing by from a nearby parking garage.
According to Mitch Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans, there are plenty of ways that the city can make better use of the properties in which these kinds of memorials were sitting on.
On a national level, Confederate symbols are subject of a heated debate. The June 2015 church incident which caused the death of 9 parishioners only aggravated the situation further. A week after the incident, South Carolina stopped flying the Confederate flag which was always present on the statehouse grounds. Furthermore, several southern cities are considering the idea of removing the Confederate monuments after the incident. The University of Mississippi also took down its flag as it included a Confederate emblem.
Keep in mind that New Orleans is a city that is majorly dominated by African-Americans. It came to no surprise that the City Council voted 16-1 in favor of the removal of the Confederate statues. While the vote was held back in 2015, legal battles prevented the removal of the statues. It's only now that they have the grounds to begin the removal process.
People who are against the Confederate memorials are calling them offensive statues. On the other side of the fence are the people that claim they are historic structures, and they should be protected.
Since the announcement of the removals, contractors who are hired by the city are experiencing intimidation and death threats from some Confederate supporters.
In fact, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is refusing to release the names of the contractors who were hired to remove the statues. Also, statue removals are set to take place during unusual hours to ensure the safety of the workers.
New Orleans is approaching its 300th anniversary next year. Mayor Mitch Landrieu was quoted as saying that the statues and memorials no longer represent the city. The statues are planned to be stored in a safe place until the city can find an "appropriate" setting to display them.
The Liberty Monument is the first memorial to be taken down. It's an 1891 obelisk constructed to honor the Crescent City White League. According to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, if Confederate monuments are to be taken down, this is the first memorial that should be removed. It's the most offensive as it was erected with the sole purpose of revering racial supremacy.