Gen. Lee the last Confederate statue removed in New Orleans

Anti-monument protesters Rose Hunter left and her son Deshaun Washington make their case with pro-monument supporters right near the statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard as the statue was prepared for removal

Melanie Morel-Ensminger, a Unitarian minister from New Orleans, who is in favor of the removal of confederate monuments, watches as workers prepare to take down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017.

"This cult had one goal and one goal only: through monuments and other means to rewrite history, to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity", Landrieu said.

The city has said it will leave intact the marble column where Lee's statue had been and upgrade the circle of land around it.

At the previous three removals, the statue proponents carried Confederate flags but none were prominently displayed on Friday. "Today is a sign that we are forcing New Orleans to have a conversation about race and economics and politics that has honestly not happened here in the city before".

In a strongly-worded defense of the removal of the monuments, Landrieu slammed the defenders of the Confederate monuments for romanticizing what they believe are the heroic actions of the South during Civil War times and beyond, but forgetting about the bad things that also occurred.

The removal ended 133 years for the statue at the piece of land that connects New Orleans' Uptown and Garden District areas with the CBD and French Quarter. That crowd included several flag waving and confederate-era clad people getting in their final say, and a boisterous, drum-beating crowd of Take 'Em Down folks who at one point danced and chanted just inches from the stoic pro-monument group in a scene that seemed destined for trouble, but which resulted in few arrests or altercations.

The column on which the statue stood will remain, and the city will add a water feature.

Built in the center of a traffic circle once known as Tivoli Circle, the Lee statue was unveiled to a crowd The Daily Picayune estimated to number 15,000.

The statues were erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the "lost cause of the Confederacy", a movement recognized across the South as promoting white supremacy, according to a news release from the mayor's office.

"I have a meeting with him Monday morning to discuss that and Hopefully we can take ownership of them and display them at a historical location, maybe Mansfield Battle Field and St. Bernard has expressed interest in Beauregard since he's from there", Nungesser said.

Since May 11, crews in New Orleans have removed monuments to Jefferson Davis, president of the pro-slavery Confederacy and P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general.

"We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city", Landrieu said last month after the first statue came down.

"These statues are not just stone and metal". He says in an interview with The Associated Press that "we don't want these statues in places of reverence; they need to be in places of remembrance". The first, a monument to a deadly 1874 white supremacist uprising, was taken down on April 24.

Last month, the SPLC said it "found that at least 60 such publicly funded symbols of the Confederacy have been removed or renamed" since Roof opened fire in Charleston.

Landrieu plans to address city residents later in the afternoon.

The campaign to remove the statues has been highly controversial. Contractors involved in the removal process have been threatened; statue supporters sued repeatedly to keep the statues 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 said those taking the statues can not display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.

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