Crews in New Orleans have removed the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures: The statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The statue was lifted from its pedestal early Friday evening, capping a day in which hundreds gathered to gawk in a somewhat festive atmosphere.
Lee’s statue has been in place for more than 100 years.
Crews already removed the Battle of Liberty Place monument and the statues of Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard. The removal process has taken place during the overnight hours, with the exception of Lee’s, and with the help of masked crews and large equipment.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu had proposed the removal of the monuments after the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church. The gunman was an avowed racist who brandished Confederate battle flags in photos. The mass shooting recharged debate over whether Confederate emblems represent racism or an honorable heritage.
Landrieu said Friday afternoon that the monuments represent a “sanitized” view of the Confederacy. He added that they were erected years after the Civil War ended by people who wanted to show that white supremacy still held sway in the city.
The City Council approved Landrieu’s proposal to remove the monuments in 2015.