WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A mystery copper box was found underneath a Confederate statue in New Orleans on July 25.
- The Louisiana State Museum opened the time capsule on Friday and discovered contents that were part of American history.
- The ancient box holds Confederate memorabilia including photos, currency, flags, medals, and other Confederate items.
The statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard was taken down in New Orleans in May 2017 after a controversial public battle. It was the third historical statue ordered to be taken down by then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
When the base of the statue of Louisiana’s Civil War general was removed on July 25, a copper box was found hidden underneath it. Curators at the Louisiana State Museum opened the time capsule on Friday.
According to WDSU, the box containing Confederate memorabilia was buried underneath the bronze equestrian statue’s pedestal on November 14, 1913, one year before the statue was erected. The landmark honoring Louisiana’s Civil War general was built outside New Orleans City Park.
The box contained memorabilia including photos of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, along with tattered flags, currency, post-Civil War medals, ribbons and other documents related to New Orleans.
Although many of the contents were not well-preserved due to time and weather, there were some which are still in good condition. The curators said they needed to dehumidify some of the contents of the 1913 box so they can be passable for display.
“We can’t forget history,” Louisiana’s Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told CNN affiliate WDSU. We can’t change it. We have to learn from it and move forward. Hopefully this does not dig up any bad blood.”
Nungesser believed that another time capsule was placed underneath a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, also taken down a year ago.
“To be able to reveal what’s inside is very exciting and hopefully the museum will be able to present it and contextualize it in an interesting fashion,” Louisiana State Museum interim director Steven Maklansy told WDSU during the unveiling.
The Monumental Task Committee told CNN it hopes the artifacts are preserved and displayed in “a respectful manner honoring those who worked hard to share a part of New Orleans’ history with future generations.” The committee is a monument preservation group that filed a lawsuit to keep the Beauregard statue in place.