Statue of General Lee coming down in New Orleans on Friday

Posted May 19, 2017

Work began to remove it around 7 p.m. Tuesday, when police officers began moving people away from the monument in preparation for its removal. As with two earlier removals, it happened under cover of darkness. The statue was first put in place in 1884.

The statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee will be the last to come down.

New Orleans has already removed statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and a monument memorializing a deadly 1874 white-supremacist uprising.

"I think it's a win-win for the Mayor's office, City of New Orleans and for us", said Payne. Crowds gathered once again to watch masked men work to bring down the Confederate statue.

Statues and flags honoring the Confederacy have been removed from public spaces across the United States since 2015, after a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a SC church. The killer, Dylann Roof, was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos.

It was the third of four such monuments to be taken down under a proposal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu that was approved by the City Council more than a year ago. People in kayaks and canoes could be seen at times.

"It's a sign that the world is changing", said Blanchard, an African-American who attended high school nearby. "You take down this monument, and you're going to have a legacy of killing history".

"I've never looked at them as a source of pride", Blanchard said. "We want them, no question". But to some it was the most objectionable. An inscription extolling white supremacy was added in 1932. About 18 feet tall, it had a bronze likeness of Davis standing atop a tall stone pedestal.

The monuments that pay homage to the Confederacy, made up of states which attempted to preserve slavery in the South and secede from the United States in the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, have been denounced by critics as an affront to the ideals of multi-racial tolerance and diversity in the majority-black Louisiana city.

Barricades were set up in the afternoon and a portion of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line around Lee Circle was removed to allow a crane to maneuver around the monument.

The City Council will have the final say over which proposals are accepted.