Last Confederate monument removed in New Orleans

Posted at 10:21 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 22:21:07-04

Workers in New Orleans have removed the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures - a 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.

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.