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St. Landry Parish council to make decision on relocation of confederate monument

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Posted at 2:10 AM, Mar 18, 2022

Council members in St. Landry Parish have 30 days to decide what will become of a confederate monument standing on the grounds of the Opelousas Courthouse.

The statue, which honors soldiers who fought for the confederacy during the Civil War, was erected by the Louisiana Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on February 22, 1920.

Parish President Jessie Bellard said that he doesn't want to get rid of the statue, but believes the monument should not remain on government property.

"The request was that it's a statue hindering the black community to vote or coming into the courthouse back in the day," said Bellard. "If that is true, then it needs to be removed and we will put it in a place where it needs to be."

Attorney Charles Cravins and other St. Landry Parish residents brought their concerns about the statue to a committee meeting on March 2. Cravins said that the problem with the monument is not the history it recalls, but it's inscriptions and carvings of Klan iconography.

Committee members passed a decision to remove the monument from government property. The full council met on Wednesday, March 16, to take action on that decision.

It was tabled after plans could not be finalized on what would be done with the statue after its removal.

Tensions were also high during the discussion with one person having to be removed from the meeting.

The parish council now has 30 days to consider a new location for the monument. Once that location is found, a vote will be taken on removing it from parish property.

Bellard said that it will cost up to $60,000 to remove the monument. Instead of raising taxes, Bellard said a private donor has offered to provide the funds.

"I'm very happy this private citizen is going to help us with this movement where it doesn't cost taxpayers that big chunk of change," said Bellard.