New Orleans removes prominent statue of Robert E. Lee

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on the removal of Confederate-related monuments from New Orleans (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says taking down a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will allow his city to “heal and become the city we always should have been.”

Lee’s statue comes down Friday, the last of four Confederate-related statues to be removed from public property in the Louisiana city.

Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon. He says in an interview with The Associated Press that “we don’t want these statues in places of reverence; they need to be in places of remembrance.”

Three other Confederacy-related statues were removed at night. The mayor says the Lee statue is coming down in the daytime because officials couldn’t guarantee the safety of construction workers from nearby electrical lines if they worked at night.

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9:45 a.m.

About 100 people were on hand as a huge crane arrived at the New Orleans monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A statue of Lee was slated for removal Friday from atop a 60-foot-high pedestal where it was been since 1884. It’s the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures the city is removing.

Opinions on the removal varied and crossed racial lines.

A racially mixed group held signs supporting removal.

One onlooker, John Renner, a white man and an Illinois native, said the statue should remain because it represents history.

Al Kennedy, also white and a former New Orleans school board member, supported removal. Kennedy says he loves his native South. Of the Confederate past, he says: “It’s my history, but it’s not my heritage.”

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8:15 a.m.

The city of New Orleans is taking down a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, completing the Southern city’s removal of four Confederate-related statues that some called divisive.

Lee commanded Confederate armies against the United States in the Civil War and is a revered figure among supporters of the old South. But the Louisiana city will take down a prominent statue of Lee on Friday.

City officials are trying to divorce New Orleans from symbols celebrating the Confederacy. Many Southern areas have done the same since nine black parishioners were fatally shot in 2015 by an avowed racist at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

New Orleans has already removed statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Crews also took down a monument memorializing a deadly white supremacist uprising in 1874.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/19/2017 11:41:10 AM (GMT -4:00)

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