Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory announced on Wednesday the removal of the General Alfred Mouton statue in Downtown Lafayette, saying that he will instruct the city's legal department to"take all steps available" to see that the statue is removed.
In a lengthy statement released Wednesday evening, Guillory said some of the statue is a topic of significant conversation, and while some of it is "rooted in mutual respect and a desire for redemption and reconciliation between our peoples," some is threatening and offensive.
"Rather than helping us come to terms with our history, it is an impediment to mutual respect, redemption and reconciliation.
The violence and destruction we have seen across our nation seems to be rooted in promoting racial division and rending the fabric of our society until it is unrecognizable.
We have successfully avoided this kind of mayhem in our city and parish. For the most part, our conversation has been respectful, constructive and civil. Despite threats, we've had several spirited protests and demonstrations without major incident so far," the statement continues.
While asking for the removal of the statue, Guillory said, "I will ask the court for permission to allow us to protect the Mouton Statue from destruction. I will ask the City Council to pass a resolution in support of these actions."
The Mayor-President said he has met with Bishop Deshotel with the Diocese of Lafayette, various other pastors, leadership of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and other "key stakeholders" who have been part of the history.
"Ultimately, this is not a Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal issue. It's a question of what is best for the long-term future of our community.
This statue is a part of our history. That cannot and should not be denied. But we have an opportunity today, to make history.
This downtown intersection is an important gateway into the heart of the city of Lafayette.
We want visitors to experience the vibrant optimism and determination of our people when they come here. We should honestly ask ourselves whether this statue is the best symbol for that.
I believe it is time for us, as a community, to put down the burdens of 1922, so that we will be able to successfully shoulder the challenges and opportunities of 2022 and beyond."
Guillory and the president of the local United Daughters of the Confederacy are scheduled to appear in court on August 17.
You can read and watch Mayor-President Guillory's full statement below:
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