New Orleans removes monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee

The physical process of taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee faced several obstacles Friday, not unlike the process through the legal system and political system that Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city council faced after passing an ordinance to remove four Confederate-era monuments almost 18 months ago.

While Roof's actions spurred a debate in many parts of the South about whether it was appropriate to fly the Confederate battle emblem - and many places have taken it down - the reaction in New Orleans seemed to go even further, knocking away at even weightier, heavier parts of history.

"Millions of tourists have taken photos of that statue without realizing the character of the man", Suber said, noting the Tennessee native was a major slaveholder and architect of the Trail of Tears. But Al Kennedy, also white and a former New Orleans school board member, supported the removal. Speaking of the Confederate past, he said: "It's my history, but it's not my heritage".

Asked what advice he had for activists across the country organizing against Confederate symbols, Moore said it's important to keep constant pressure on local politicians.

The city said in a news release that the statues were "erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the 'Cult of the Lost Cause, ' a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy".

Friday's removal - in daylight, with the timing announced a day beforehand - contrasts with the first three, which happened in the dark of night or early morning with little notice.

Eventually, New Orleans police recovered the flag and returned it to the monument supporter.

A Southern Poverty Law Center study a year ago identified more than 1,500 Confederate symbols on public property, including "monuments and statues; flags; holidays and other observances; and the names of schools, highways, parks, bridges, counties, cities, lakes, dams, roads, military bases, and other public works".

Crews will remove the statue of Robert E. Lee, who was the top military leader in the Confederacy, on Friday sometime after 9 a.m., the city said in a statement.

The only flashpoint was when a pro-removal protester snatched a Confederate battle flag.

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The four monuments are being stored at a city warehouse until determinations are made about where they may end up.

The Robert E. Lee statue was a familiar landmark for tourists and commuters who travel busy St. Charles Avenue by auto or on one of the city's historic streetcars.

The City Council approved Landrieu's proposal to remove the monuments in 2015.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue at Lee Circle was erected in 1884. The statue, designed by New York-based sculptor Alexander Doyle, was placed atop a 60-foot-tall granite column and cost $10,000.

It towered over a traffic circle - Lee Circle - in an area between the office buildings of the city's business district and stately 19th-century mansions in the nearby Garden District.

By noon, about 100 people had gathered near Lee Circle to watch the statue come down.

Certain conditions apply, however; the statues can not be displayed outdoors on public property in New Orleans.

The city plans to leave the column where Lee's statue stood intact and will mount public art in its place.

There was also an incident where someone in a vehicle took a flag from a monument supporter.

PGT Beauregard is left out for now while the City and City Park Improvement Association work out ownership issues.

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