Robert E Lee Monument
A streetcar passes by a 60 ft tall monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee that towers over a traffic circle in New Orleans, June 24, 2015. Reuters

After a long and tough fight, it seemed Monday that Confederate General Robert E. Lee would be moving out of New Orleans.

A federal court ruled this week that a statue of Lee standing proudly atop a monument in the city could be removed, along with monuments that honor former Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. The three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a city-led effort to do away with the landmarks. The judges were not convinced by the case meant to block the removal of the statues, which was brought by the Monumental Task Committee and the Louisiana Landmarks Society.

Authorities haven't yet decided where the statues will end up.

The city also petitioned to remove another monument honoring the Battle of Liberty Place, an obelisk commemorating an 1874 uprising by the supremacy group White League. But that memorial was not included in Monday’s decision because it was part of a federally funded transportation project and therefore set to be considered separately.

"This win today will allow us to begin to turn a page on our divisive past and chart the course for a more inclusive future," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "Moving the location of these monuments — from prominent public places in our city where they are revered to a place where they can be remembered — changes only their geography, not our history."

The lawsuit to block the monuments’ removal was filed shortly after the New Orleans City Council voted to take down the statues in December 2015. The initial decision was partly due to a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, when white gunman Dylann Roof killed nine black worshippers.

The 2015 lawsuit argued that “regardless whether the Civil War era is regarded as a catastrophic mistake or a noble endeavor, it is undeniably a formative event in the history of Louisiana.” The suit also stated that the monuments were “the source of much of the cultural heritage.”