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Concerned citizens calling for removal of Iberia Parish mural

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 20:19:19-04

NEW IBERIA — A historical mural in Iberia Parish is drawing criticism because some say it glorifies racism.

The mural hangs in one of the courtrooms at the parish courthouse.

The painting, titled "The Struggle of Man," was done by Artist Conrad Albrizio in 1940.

According to 64 Parishes, a project of Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the artwork showcased a man's struggle to free himself from restricting forces.

Concerned citizens say the painting has made them, along with others, uncomfortable for years and that there's no better time than the present to remove it or cover it.

"A person that's going there to be tried by a judge cannot feel good about the situation when he looks above the judge's head and sees some superiority complex," said Elton "Bruce" Broussard, a former community leader.

Broussard and Robby Bethel say the mural is concerning because it portrays a white man standing over people of color.

They say the painting, which was completed during the Jim Crow era, is not a good representation of fairness in the legal system.

"We know that, at that time, there was no access to justice for black people in Iberia Parish," explained Bethel.

She says she was encouraged to take a stand because of the nationwide shift regarding attitudes toward racism and inequality.

"Now is the time to do it, so that we can all make the places in which we live a better place for everybody," said Bethel.

She and Broussard hope parish officials will listen to their concerns and find a new spot for the mural.

"Let them put it in the museum. I mean, Mr. Abrizio's family might want the portrait; give it to them, said Broussard. "But, it shouldn't be sitting up there to where when you walk in there for justice, you're thinking, 'Hey, there's no justice here.'"

Broussard and Bethel have been in touch with Parish President Larry Richard about the removal of the mural.

Richard tells KATC he's currently having discussions about it.