Working under bright temporary lights and with NOPD officers standing guard, crews moved in early Monday morning to remove "The Battle of Liberty Place" monument from its site at the foot of Iberville Street near the entrance to the Canal Place parking garage.
The faces of the employees of a private contractor were covered and the workers wore what appeared to be military-style helmets and bullet-proof vests.
The work was completed in about 4 hours.
The city announced early Monday that it now has the private funds needed to take down a total of four monuments, including those to Confederate figures, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T Beauregard.
A timeline for the removal of the three remaining monuments will not be revealed by the city because of security concerns.
The takedown was observed by a leader of the group "Take 'Em Down NOLA," which has argued that the monument to Andrew Jackson should be included.
Malcolm Suber told FOX 8 he was displeased that the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place monument was conducted under the cover of darkness when few people could view it. He also expressed his displeasure with the way workers were dressed, saying "to us that's cowardice."
"They have dozens of police officers out here and you're saying that you can't protect these people who are doing their jobs? To me that's a concession to the white supremacists who have promised disruption and we should not kowtow to their dictates," Suber said.
But Suber added, he was "happy" that the first monument had come down. "It's a win - it's a win for the people of New Orleans."