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Published on April 26th, 2017 | by Newt Rayburn

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A Conflict of the Past That Should Teach Us Lessons for the Future: Photographs of The Battle of Liberty Place Monument in New Orleans by Newt Rayburn

In the early morning hours of Monday, April 24, 2017, under the cover of darkness, a clandestine SWAT squad mobilized by the City of New Orleans quickly and hastily removed a 126-year-old monument from the streets in the French Quarter.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument was originally erected on Canal Street in 1891 in New Orleans.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument was originally erected on Canal Street in 1891 in New Orleans.

The stone pillar brought attention to an armed insurrection that occurred in New Orleans on September 14, 1874, nearly ten years after the Civil War.

The inscriptions on the monument changed over the years, and some were quite controversial. However, the monument endured, first on Canal Street and later moved to Iberville, with contextualization and new engravings that refined the history of the incident.

As is the purpose of any monument, The Battle of Liberty Place obelisk called attention to a troubling event, a moment in which people died. Monuments promote the study of history to future generations so that lessons can be learned from the past.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in 2006, thirteen years after it was relocated to the south end of Iberville Street in New Orleans.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in 2006, after it was relocated to the south end of Iberville Street in New Orleans.

I myself would not know anything about this event in history, nor would I have ever even thought to research it, if the monument had not been there in the first place.

Wikipedia has a primer on the uprising and the history of the monument if you’re interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Liberty_Place

The Battle of Liberty Place monument is gone now, swept off the streets under the cover of darkness by an armed squad in the middle of the night.

_____

These photographs are by Oxford, Mississippi photographer Newt Rayburn and most were shot on January 2, 2016 and a couple were taken on October 20, 2016. Copyright © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com

 

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads "NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP"

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads “NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads "IN HONOR OF THOSE AMERICANS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LIBERTY PLACE. MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE (Eleven names of individual officers who died) A CONFLICT OF THE PAST THAT SHOULD TEACH US LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE"

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “IN HONOR OF THOSE AMERICANS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LIBERTY PLACE. MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE (Eleven names of individual officers who died) A CONFLICT OF THE PAST THAT SHOULD TEACH US LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads "FELL IN ACTION (sixteen names of individuals)"

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “FELL IN ACTION (sixteen names of individuals)”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription on the right side reads "FIRST LA INFANTRY SEPT 4, 1874 (thirteen names of individuals)"

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription on the right side reads “FIRST LA INFANTRY SEPT 4, 1874 (thirteen names of individuals)”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads "NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP"

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads “NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads "DE FACTO LA STATE EXECUTIVES SEPT 14, 1874 (seventeen names of individuals are included).

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “DE FACTO LA STATE EXECUTIVES SEPT 14, 1874 (seventeen names of individuals are included).

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads "CRESCENT CITY WHITE LEAGUE SEPT 14, 1874 (eighteen names of individuals are included).

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “CRESCENT CITY WHITE LEAGUE SEPT 14, 1874 (eighteen names of individuals are included).

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “IN HONOR OF THOSE AMERICANS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LIBERTY PLACE. MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE (Eleven names of individual officers who died) A CONFLICT OF THE PAST THAT SHOULD TEACH US LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads "IN HONOR OF THOSE AMERICANS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LIBERTY PLACE. MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE (Eleven names of individual officers who died) A CONFLICT OF THE PAST THAT SHOULD TEACH US LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE"

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Inscription reads “IN HONOR OF THOSE AMERICANS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT WHO DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LIBERTY PLACE. MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE (Eleven names of individual officers who died) A CONFLICT OF THE PAST THAT SHOULD TEACH US LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads "NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP"

A homeless person sleeps under The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2016. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com. Cardboard sign reads “NEED A BLESSING ANYTHING HELP”

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 20, 2016. City utilities encroach and surround the monument. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 20, 2016. City utilities encroach and surround the monument. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 20, 2016. City utilities encroach and surround the monument. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn - newtrayburn@gmail.com.

The Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 20, 2016. City utilities encroach and surround the monument. Photograph © 2016 Newt Rayburn – newtrayburn@gmail.com.

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in 2006.

Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Art Director for Ole Miss’ LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN.

A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt is perhaps best known as the leader of the Mississippi RocknRoll band THE COOTERS, but he also has the Country & Southern Rock group, HAWGWASH.

Newt is a Photographer, Writer, and Civil War Enthusiast.



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