Despite the advances of 2016, the state-sponsored occurrence of Confederate States of America memorabilia deemed historically and culturally significant — despite their possibly being inherently racist — remains a problem for southern America. For on the same day that Alabama and Mississippi closed their offices to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, workers in New Orleans took down the first of several statues commemorating the period and its heroes. Needless to say, not everyone living in Louisiana’s largest city is happy about the matter.
According to ABC News, the Liberty Place monument — which “commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans” — was the first to be taken down. Mayor Mitch Landrieu described it as “the most offensive of the four” statues slated to be removed following legal challenges, adding: “There’s a better way to use the property these monuments are on and a way that better reflects who we are.”
Others, like Civil War re-enactor Robert Bonner and an unknown individual heard shouting in raw video recorded by the Associated Press, argue how “it’s a terrible thing” since “when you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you’ve been.” Nostalgia notwithstanding — not to mention the violence surrounding the removal of, or demonstrations featuring, the Confederate flag in 2016 — city officials weren’t taking any chances with the obelisk’s removal:
Workers who took the monument down Monday could be seen wearing bulletproof vests, military-style helmets and scarves that obscured their faces. Police were also on hand, including officers who watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel.
Maybe that’s why, per the enraged ravings of the unseen person in the Associated Press video, “nobody knows” who the individuals seen taking down the Liberty Place monument are. Because they fear for their (and their friends and family’s) safety as a result of doing their job, which includes removing statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, along with Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis later this week.