According to US National Public Radio, this is the fourth Confederate-era monument to be removed in New Orleans. The first, a monument to a deadly 1874 white supremacist uprising, was taken down on April 24. A couple of weeks later, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled; on Wednesday, a statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard was removed.
The campaign to remove the statues has been highly controversial. According to the Washington Post, contractors have received death threats, and nearly every heavy-crane company in southern Louisiana was also threatened.
Because of that, the first three statues were removed during the night. General Lee's statue is the first to be removed during daylight.
According to Landrieu, the monuments are the result of what he called "a cult of the lost cause."
"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," he said.
The fate of the statues is undetermined. City authorities have reportedly received a number of proposals from various public and private organizations. Certain restrictions are to be placed on the monuments in their future homes: for example, the new owners will not be allowed to display them outdoors on public property in New Orleans.
The platforms where the monuments once stood will be decorated with public art and American flags, city authorities say.