Update, 8 a.m. Monday
Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke about the removal of New Orleans' Liberty Place monument
 on Monday morning. 
Watch his remarks below.
Original story
Early Monday morning crews removed New Orleans' Liberty Place monument
commemorating the failed rebellion of a white supremacist militia, the first of four
statues slated to be taken from their public perches.
The unannounced removal marks the beginning of the end of a debate that has roiled the
 city in the nearly two years since Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the removal of the
 monument to the Battle of Liberty Place and more prominent statues of Confederate
generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The statue will be stored in a city warehouse until a museum or park can be found where
it can be placed in its proper context, city officials have said.
The other statues are expected to be taken down soon, as city officials announced early
 Monday they had secured the private funds needed for the job. However, the Landrieu
administration said it would not give advance notice of those removals and did not provide
 details on who provided that money, how much was donated, how the ultimate fate of the
 statues would be or how the city would choose new monuments to replace them.
The lack of notice for the work and the fact it was done under the dark of night upset groups
 on both sides of the debate, with even those who have fought to tear the monuments down
calling it a “cowardly” move.


Malcolm Suber, one of the organizers of Take ‘Em Down NOLA,
 showed up mid-way through the removal. While he said he was glad
 the monument, one of about a hundred statues and street and place
 names the group has called to be removed as symbols of white
 supremacy, he has previously called for the statues to come down in daylight, with notice
 and a public celebration.
“The thing I’m amazed at is these people are wearing helmets, flack jackets and covering
their faces,” Suber said of the workers removing the monument. “Why should that be
 necessary in a democratic society?”
Can't see video below? Click here.

Top half of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans comes down
The Advocate
Crews, accompanied by dozens of New Orleans Police officers, rolled up behind the
 Canal Place parking garage about 1:30 a.m. Monday to begin dismantling the monument
to the White League’s failed revolt, a process that took about four hours. Rumors that the city
 would begin removing the statues about that time had been swirling for days, prompting vigils
 at both the Liberty Place monument and the Davis statue near Canal Street. But by the time
the workers arrived, the last group of monument supporters had left the White League statue
 to join the larger protest near Davis’ statue.
City officials have said that security has played a role in keeping details about the removals
 under wraps in light of threats and harassment reported by contractors who had previously
 been hired or expressed interest in the job. The police department’s SWAT team watched
over the removal, with sharpshooters posted in a nearby parking garage and K-9 units
 checking the scene.
Workers wore bullet-proof vests, helmets and facemasks as they went about the work, which
involved lifting sections of the obelisk off the statue piece by piece. The logos on their trucks
 and equipment was covered in cardboard and the license plates on the vehicles had been
removed. One man opposed to removing the monuments told others in his group “we’ll find
 out who they are.”
At one point, city officials called to criticize a TV station for taking video that they said was
zoomed in too close and could reveal the workers’ identities.
But the removal was a largely peaceful process, even as small groups of supporters and
opponents began making their way to the site after seeing reports about the removal. The
 tensest moment came as woman supporting the removal argued loudly with a man who
opposed it.
As the monument was being removed Joey Cargol, an opponent of taking down the statues
who had been loudly criticizing the police and demanding to see a permit for the work,
walked up to Suber. Acknowledging that they were on opposing sides, Cargol said he
hoped they could agree the removal itself should have been handled more transparently.
"I know we've disagreed on a lot of things, but this is not the ways things should be
 handled," Cargol said.
"They could have done this, announced it and let people show their opinion," Suber said.
 "This is the coward's way."
"It's hard to handle a defeat like this and hard to celebrate a victory like this," Cargol replied.
Landrieu first called for the four monuments to come down in the summer of 2015, after
Dylann Roof – a white supremacist – killed nine parishioners in a black church in
Charleston in hopes of starting a race war. That led to six months of hearings that
culminated in a 6-1 vote to declare the monuments “nuisances” that promoted racial
discord because of their ties to a movement known as the Lost Cause, which sought to
 rehabilitate the image of the Confederacy in the aftermath of the Civil War and re-establish
 white dominance in southern states.
That removal was delayed, however, as the city found itself tied up in court battles that
 lasted until earlier this year.
Of the four statues, the Liberty Place monument was largely seen as the most objectionable
 and Landrieu explicitly described it that way. The monument commemorates a violent
1874 uprising by the White League, which fought and members of New Orleans’ bi-racial
police force as it ousted the state’s bi-racial Reconstruction-era government for several days
 before President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops.


A plaque later added to the monument noted the failure of the
rebellion but cast it as a part of reestablishing white supremacy
 in the state.
The monument has always been a flashpoint and a site of rallies by white nationalist
 David Duke and protests by civil rights leader the Rev. Avery C. Alexander, something
that may have contributed to the security on display.
This is also the second time the monument has been removed. It was taken down from its
 original spot at the foot of Canal Street during roadwork in the late 1980s and put up again
only on orders from a federal court, when it was placed in the less conspicuous spot between
 a garage and the floodwall.
Much about the process remains unknown. The Landrieu administration did not indicate
whether the work itself was done by city employees or a firm hired for the process and did
 not provide information on how the contract had been procured.
They also did not provide a pricetag for the work. The lone contractor who had bid on
removing the other three statues said doing that work would cost about $600,000, more
than three times the amount the city had received in an anonymous donation to take down
the statues.
In a press release two hours after the statue began to come down, the Landrieu
 administration said it had secured the funding needed to take down the remaining
 monuments. But it’s not clear whether it plans to use the bidder on the contract or
 another firm.
A few miles from Liberty Place, a sizable group also gathered at the monument to
Jefferson Davis, just off Canal Street in Mid-City, in anticipation of action there. 

Tempers flare at Jefferson Davis monument in New Orleans
The Advocate
The vigil was organized by the Monumental Task Commission, who circulated a notice
mid-day on Sunday that they had "a variety of confirmed leads" the city would be removing
the Liberty Place and Jefferson Davis monuments. The vigil group, which grew as large as
 about 60 people, began gathering shortly before midnight. New Orleans police cruisers
were present in the area, but no action seemed imminent at any point toward the statue
of the man who served as the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. 
The group remained largely peaceful, with candles lit and most milling about discussing
the monument, its history as well as that of the other three slated for removal. 
Pierre McGraw, the founder of the Monumental Task Committee, spoke on how his group
 had refurbished the statue and many others, and his sadness that it could soon be pulled
 from its current location. 
"This city is blessed with a lot of monuments, some truly beautiful monuments done by
 notable sculptors," McGraw said, standing directly in front of a candle-lit Jefferson
 Davis. "Any other city would be proud to have these monuments."

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Pierre McGraw of Monumental Task Force speaking now. Discussing Jeff Davis restoration: 'We take a lot of pride in this .. it'll be a shame'

Another man, who identified himself as Charles Lincoln, also spoke to discuss a petition
and a lawsuit he said he plans to file in an attempt to block the monuments' removal. 
"These men were great leaders. They were American patriots. They believed they were
doing the right thing and they were heroes," he said. " ... Let's get a new lawsuit. The other
 has kind of shown signs of biting the dust. But this one, I think, has a real chance under
both state and federal law." 
Even without Davis' removal, there were some tense moments. One man arrived with a
 sign that read "Black Lives Matter," upsetting several of the vigil-goers who accused him
of being a paid protester. 
Chris Daemmrich, who said he is from Austin, Texas, but has lived in New Orleans for
 5 years, was blocked by several people as he stood in front of the monument, and
eventually had his sign ripped from his hands. 

Counterprotester blocked by Jefferson Davis vigil participant. Then angry person rips sign from hands, tears it.

Another young woman arrived later in the evening, arguing with several vigil-goers
 before eventually storming off. 
After news began to circulate that the Liberty Place monument would be the only one
 removed on Monday morning, several people shouted that they would return to that
 area to protest its removal.