New Orleans Prepares To Take Down Statue Of Gen. Robert E. Lee

New Orleans Prepares To Take Down Statue Of Gen. Robert E. Lee

"Ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for".

As the Lee statue came down this week, Landrieu's office said the city will pursue the installation of a water feature in Lee Circle, and that an American flag will fly where the statue of Jefferson Davis stood. "They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history", Landrieu said.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday marked the removal of the fourth and final Confederate monument by calling on city residents, and the nation as a whole, to get serious about confronting white supremacy and racism.

But doing away with them has met with staunch resistance from groups who argue the statues are nevertheless important symbols of the city's Southern heritage.

A man is arrested after an altercation with a woman as the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed from Lee Circle, Friday, May 19, 2017, in New Orleans.

"Mayor Landrieu and the City Council have stripped New Orleans of nationally recognized historic landmarks", said the Monumental Task Committee, an organization that maintains monuments and plaques across the city.

Before police cleared the area on Thursday, almost 200 protesters gathered to voice support and opposition to the monument.

So goes the exercise in subtraction that's touched New Orleans for several weeks, as work crews hired by the city carted off, one by one, four monuments targeted for removal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2015.

While many were supportive of removal, opinions varied widely in the crowd of hundreds that gathered to watch Friday.

The moment the statue was toppled from its spot atop the column, just a few minutes after 6 p.m., the largely anti-monument crowd burst into cheers and song.

Tempers cooled when police recovered the flag and returned it. A 100-gun salute happened as the monument was unveiled as "a mighty shout went up from the soldiers of the Confederacy" The Picayune reported the next morning.

The statue of Lee, who commanded Confederate armies fighting the United States in the Civil War, will be taken down from atop a 60-foot (18 meters)-high pedestal where it was been since 1884.

The city's famed Uptown streetcar line wraps around the circle, and almost all Carnival parades traverse it near the end of their route.

The hours-long process of removing the statue of the Confederate general who symbolized Southern resistance in the Civil War ended late Friday afternoon as a crane lifted the statue from its perch.

The removal of the Lee statue brings to a close a process that began more than two years ago and included taking down three other Confederate monuments amid fruitless legal challenges to keep them in place.

The city had kept quiet about the timing of the earlier ones, citing what it said were threats that some had made toward contractors who would do the work.

Throughout the years, the Lee monument has served as a focal point for Civil War reunions and a host of civic celebrations. It towered over the street also named after him. Certain restrictions are to be placed on the monuments in their future homes: for example, the new owners will not be allowed to display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans. The Jefferson Davis statue came down last week, and the Beauregard statue was dismantled earlier this week. The removal of the statue comes after the city has already taken down a statue of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy's only president, and a memorial to a white rebellion against a biracial Reconstruction-era government in the city. The bill would allow local governments to take down a memorial only if voters approve the action at "an election held for that goal". That sparked protests, including one Saturday in which torch-carrying demonstrators were led by white nationalist Richard Spencer.