Third Confederate statue removed in New Orleans

Statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard being removed in New Orleans in wee hours of May 17, 2017 

WWL-TV

Last Updated May 17, 2017 6:05 AM EDT

NEW ORLEANS -- The city of New Orleans late Tuesday began taking down a monument to Gen. P.G.T Beauregard - the third of four Confederate-era monuments slated for removal. 

The city had already taken down a statue of the Confederacy's only president and a memorial to a white rebellion against a biracial Reconstruction-era government in the New Orleans. 

By 4:10 a.m., the Beauregard statue had been removed from its pedastal, which city officials said would be left in place for now but with Beauregard's name removed, according to CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV.

The removal was met by demonstrations favoring and opposing it, WWL says, adding that several arrests were made.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu first proposed removing the monuments in 2015, and the City Council approved the move that year. But the process was stuck in legal limbo for over a year as supporters fought to keep them up. 

"Today we take another step in defining our City not by our past but by our bright future," Landrieu said in a news release announcing the  Beauregard statue was coming down. "While we must honor our history, we will not allow the Confederacy to be put on a pedestal in the heart of New Orleans."

Last minute appeals - the vocal kind, not the legal one - were made Tuesday by members of the Monumental Task Committee, but were unsuccessful, WWL says. 

The committee recently launched a long-shot legal battle in an effort to save the Beauregard statue.  "Mayor Landrieu's actions are an insult to New Orleanians who came before us -- the veterans, widows, parents, children, and citizens who donated their personal money to build and place these monuments where they stand to honor the memory of their fallen family members," committee President Pierre McGraw said in a statement .

But for many in this majority black city, the monuments pay honor to a history of slavery and segregation, and they want them down. 

The Beauregard monument was unveiled to a crowd of hundreds, and with a 17-gun salute the afternoon of Nov. 11, 1915, by Hilda Beauregard, a granddaughter of the Confederate general.

New Orleans previously took down the Battle of Liberty Place monument and a statue of Jefferson Davis. Still awaiting removal is the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is located in the center of Lee Circle.

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Statue of Gen. P. G.T. Beauregard in New Orleans

WWL-TV

Each removal has drawn protests from those who have sought to keep the monuments in place, with several people standing vigil at the Davis statue and waving Confederate battle flags even as a crane lifted it off its pedestal.