A state judge has ruled against an effort by preservationists to stop the removal of prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

On Friday, Civil District Court Judge Piper D. Griffin said the city did not act improperly in deciding to take down four monuments tied to Confederate history, including a towering column and statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Griffin denied a request to stop the city from moving forward with its plans. The plaintiffs said they would appeal.

Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee Inc., filed a lawsuit in late January to stop the removal. His group maintains the monuments. Another historic preservation group joined his suit Thursday.

A similar challenge was shot down in federal court in January. That ruling is being appealed too.