New Orleans police received a tip about the chair’s whereabouts the same night and recovered it in the city near the corner of Feliciana and North Galvez Streets.
Stanley Warnick, 32, and Kathryn Diionno, 24, face possession of stolen property charges, police said in a statement. The police are also seeking Stanley Pate, 34, in connection with the case.
The chair is valued at $500,000 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter that owns it. Linda Edwards, president general of the UDC, confirmed it had the chair in a phone call with The Washington Post.
“We have possession of the chair. It’s unharmed, and we would like to thank the New Orleans Police Department for its excellent work in resolving the matter,” she said, adding that she had seen recent photos of the chair to confirm it was in good condition.
White Lies Matter, the anonymous anti-racist group that took it, admitted that photos they had previously released showing the chair with a hole broken through the seat and “turned into a toilet” were faked.
Rather, they built a replica chair “in Hollywood” out of wood and foam and used it for the commodious photos.
“Obviously, we had always intended to return the chair. We had started on fabricating the replica long before we acquired the original,” the group said in a lengthy media statement.
The stone chair dedicated to the memory of the president of the Confederacy disappeared from the Live Oak Cemetery, where it has stood for more than 120 years, on March 19. Weeks later, the group sent a stylized ransom note to the UDC and the media, claiming it would return the chair if the UDC flew a banner quoting Black radical Assata Shakur outside its Richmond headquarters.
They originally gave the UDC a deadline of Friday — the date Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1865 — but when it was clear the UDC wasn’t going to wave the banner, a spokesman for the group told The Post it decided to move up its threat to turn the chair into “a toilet.”
The UDC turned over to authorities a suspicious package it had received at its headquarters, Edward said. They did not open the package.
Despite revealing it had faked the damage, the group claimed the whole affair proved its point: that UDC and organizations like it are more concerned with objects than people, and specifically connecting slavery to the current criminal justice system.
“We did our part — and do not mistake it, it was not the part for heroes, but the part for idiots,” the statement read. “The real heroes are in jail cells, in graves, in history books where they continue to fight for how honest we are willing to be about the narrative behind the flag.”
“I would say they need to study our history and our mission, because that’s not what we’re about,” Edwards said.
White Lies Matter also called into question UDC’s claim that the monument was worth $500,000, writing “that’s like your uncle telling you that his old art school paintings should be valuated as if they were lost Cézannes. How valuable did the UDC think the chair was, well, they didn’t even think to bolt it down. Bet they do now though.”
The chair is now at an undisclosed location, Edwards said, but she’s “sure it will go back to its rightful place” in the cemetery’s Confederate Circle. A bust of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was stolen from the same area in 2012. It was never recovered but was eventually replaced.
Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson previously told The Post that if the thieves were caught they would be prosecuted for felonies.
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