NEW ORLEANS — They were among the city’s oldest landmarks, as cemented to the landscape of New Orleans as the Superdome and St. Louis Cathedral: a stone obelisk heralding white supremacy and three statues of Confederate stalwarts.
But after decades standing sentinel over this Southern city, the Confederate monuments are gone, amid a controversy that at times hearkened back to the divisiveness of the Civil War they commemorated.
The last — a statue of General Robert E. Lee facing defiantly north with his arms crossed — was lifted by a crane from its pedestal Friday. As air was seen between Lee’s statue and the pedestal below it, a cheer went out from the crowd assembled below.
Lee’s was the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures to be removed under a 2015 City Council vote on a proposal Mayor Mitch Landrieu made in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.