Editor and Contributing Writer
Photograph: Confederate Monument on the St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square in Downtown Opelousas. (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin)
After spending 102 years at its current St. Landry Parish Courthouse location, the Confederate Monument appears destined for a new home several miles away, according the parish president Jessie Bellard.
At this point Bellard said the monument donated to the parish by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1920, will be moved possibly within the next month to private property located on the Gradnigo Island Road northwest of Opelousas.
Final details for the relocation of the monument have not been totally finalized. However Bellard said following the conclusion of a Parish Council meeting Wednesday night that parish representatives of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have given approval to where the monument will eventually be located.
In April Parish Council members authorized Bellard to move the monument off parish property and donate it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Since then Bellard has said he had apparently found a contractor who would move the monument to another site without charge. The only expense for parish government related to the movement of the monument will be paying for the crane that will hoist the 18-foot tall monument.
Also Bellard said he has had to find a monument specialist who will remove four panels containing the names of Confederate officers before the monument leaves the Courthouse property.
“We want to do this the right way and it will not be done secretly. We won’t hide anything. I have been in meetings with the Sons of The Confederacy and they picked the place out of three that were being considered,” said Bellard.
Council members became involved the Monument issue beginning in March. After several meetings that featured individuals speaking for and against the proposed Monument removal, council members voted 9-3 to let Bellard find a new home for the statute.