Lee statue is final monument "celebrating white supremacy" removed in New Orleans

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

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 awful things that also occurred.

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.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday marked the removal of the fourth and final Confederate monument by calling on city residents, and the nation as a whole, to get serious about confronting white supremacy and racism.

"Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong", Landrieu, who is white, said in the speech.

But WWL-TV has found the removed monuments to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and PGT Beauregard in a city-owned scrap yard.

Those three statues were taken down in the pre-dawn hours without advance public notice, a precautionary measure after officials said threats were made against contractors and workers involved. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history.

(AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld). New Orleans police keep watch over pro-monument protesters and anti-monument protesters Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as the Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orlean.

Landrieu drew blistering criticism from monument supporters and even some political allies.

Earlier this month, dozens of supporters of the monuments clashed with hundreds of demonstrators near the site of the Robert E. Lee statue.

But doing away with them has met with staunch resistance from groups who argue the statues are nevertheless important symbols of the city's Southern heritage. But Frank Varela Jr., a New Orleans native carrying an American flag, said he thought Lee should stay up as "a part of the South". It's the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures the city is removing.

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.

CORRECTS TITLE FROM PRESIDENT TO GENERAL Workers prepare to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee, former general of the Confederacy, which stands in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017.

Lee, his arms crossed and dressed in his Confederate general uniform, is said to face the north, so as to keep his eyes on the enemy.

The process was delayed for almost two years by a succession of lawsuits from historic preservation groups and monument supporters. The Battle of Liberty Place obelisk, a marble monument that celebrates the 1874 uprising of a white supremacist militia against Louisiana's Reconstruction state government, came down in April. "We can not be afraid of the truth", said Landrieu, who along with other city leaders chose to take down the monuments in 2015, a decision that withstood challenges in federal court.

They are all gone now.

The selection process would require public bids, only nonprofits and governmental entities can bid on the statues, they must be displayed in historical context and the statues cannot be displayed outdoors on public property in Orleans Parish.

And where the monuments once stood, public art and an American flag are among the pieces that will replace them.

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

The city wants to finish the work during its tricentennial year.

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