The fall of the Confederacy

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 harked back to the divisiveness of the Civil War they commemorated.

The last of the monuments — a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee defiantly facing north with his arms crossed — was lifted by a crane from its pedestal late Friday, May 19, 2017. As air was seen between Lee’s statue and the pedestal below it, a cheer went up from the crowd who recorded history with their phones and shook hands with one another in congratulations. Many in the crowd had waited since morning.

“I never thought I would see this day!” shouted Melanie Morel-Ensminger with joy. “But look! It’s happening.”

Lee’s was the last of four monuments to Confederate-era figures to be removed under a 2015 City Council vote on a proposal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. It caps a nearly two-year-long process that has been railed against by those who feel the monuments are a part of Southern heritage and honor the dead. But removal of the monuments has drawn praise from those who saw them as brutal reminders of slavery and symbols of the historic oppression of black people. (AP)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.

Workers ready a Robert E. Lee statue for removal

Construction crews prepare a monument of Robert E. Lee, who was a general in the Confederate Army, for removal in New Orleans, La., on May 19, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Workers prepare to remove a Robert E. Lee statue

Workers prepare to take down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Onlookers

Onlookers stand by as workers prepare to take down a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who commanded Confederate armies fighting the United States in the Civil War, at Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Workers attach straps to a statue P.G.T. Beauregard

Workers in protective gear attach straps to the statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard as it is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans, March 17, 2017. The city council voted to remove the monument and three other Confederate and white supremacist monuments in Dec. 2015. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Anti-monument protesters

Anti-monument protesters gather Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as the Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

A P.G.T. Beauregard statue is prepared for removal

A statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard is prepared for removal, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. The city council voted to remove the monument and three other Confederate and white supremacist monuments in Dec. 2015. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Watching the removal

Matthew Moore, who supports taking down Confederate monuments, came to watch a construction crew remove a monument of Confederate Gen. P.G.T Beauregard at the entrance to City Park in New Orleans, May 16, 2017. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber/Reuters)

A P.G.T. Beauregard statue is removed

A statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard is removed just after 3 a.m. CST, Wed., May 17, 2017, from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Mounted police keep watch

New Orleans Police mounted patrol officers keep watch over a crowd that gathered to watch the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard Wed., May 17, 2017, from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Protesters gather before a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed

Protesters gather before a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans on May 11, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Protesters demonstrate against the statue’s removal

People against the removal of Confederate-era statues demonstrate across the street from the Jefferson Davis statue, in anticipation of its imminent removal in New Orleans, Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

A Jefferson Davis statue is removed

A monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans on May 11, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Statue supporters protest

Demonstrators who support keeping Confederate-era monuments protest before the Jefferson Davis statue was taken down in New Orleans, Thurs., May 11, 2017. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Police stand guard

New Orleans police officers stand guard as a monument of Jefferson Davis is removed in New Orleans on May 11, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)

Candlelight vigil for the Jefferson Davis statue

Dana Farley of New Orleans participates in a candlelight vigil at the statue of Jefferson Davis in New Orleans, Mon., April 24, 2017.(Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument

Workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government, in New Orleans. It was removed overnight in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

A supporter protests the Liberty Place monument removal

A demonstrator who supports keeping Confederate-era monuments in place argues with a woman, not pictured, who supports their removal, as workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument Monday, April 24, 2017. It was removed overnight in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

The Liberty Place monument is dismantled

Workers dismantle the Liberty Place monument, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government, in New Orleans. It was removed overnight in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay. (Photo: Scott Threlkeld/AP)

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke confronts protesters

Former Ku Klux Klan leader and current Senate candidate David Duke tries to speak as he is taunted by hecklers, prior to a protest organized by Take ’Em Down NOLA, Sept. 24, 2016. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

A University of Texas Jefferson Davis statue is prepared for removal

Workers wrap protective materials around a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis as they prepare to move the sculpture on the University of Texas campus, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The Davis statue will be moved and placed in the school’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History as part of an educational display. (Photo: Eric Gay/AP)

A University of Texas Jefferson Davis statue is moved

A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is moved from the front of the school’s main tower at the University of Texas campus, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (Photo: Eric Gay/AP)

The Confederate flag is lowered from the South Carolina statehouse

The Confederate battle flag is removed from the pole at the South Carolina statehouse grounds during a ceremony in Columbia, July 10, 2015. South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds after three weeks of emotional debate over the banner, a symbol of slavery and racism to many, of Southern heritage and pride to others. (Photo: Jason Miczek/Reuters)

The Confederate flag is removed from the South Carolina statehouse

An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway Patrol lowers the Confederate battle flag as it is removed from the Capitol grounds, Friday, July 10, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. The move was a stunning political reversal in a state where many thought the rebel banner would fly indefinitely. (Photo: John Bazemore/AP)

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes