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Logistical and other problems facing monument removal

By March 5, 2022March 19th, 2022No Comments
Conferate Monument at St Landry Parish Court House Square

Photo by BOBBY ARDOIN

BOBBY ARDOIN
Contributing Writer

How to remove a 25,000-pound marble statue from the St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square and where to eventually place it is creating a multiple logistical problem for parish president Jessie Bellard.

Parish government may also have to determine at some point the cost of placing at another location the monument which was dedicated in 1920 to commemorate parish residents who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Bellard said during a telephone interview Thursday afternoon that additionally he has some ideas about what could replace the space that the monument once occupied once it is finally relocated.

A Council Finance Committee determined unanimously last Wednesday that the monument located at the corners of Bellevue and Court streets needs to be removed from parish property following a request from former District Attorney Charles Cravins.

The final decision on the fate of the monument will perhaps be made later this month when the full Council convenes to possibly discuss the issue again.

None of the committee members asked however to place the monument matter on the meeting agenda later in March.

Bellard said during a telephone interview Thursday afternoon that he has started planning how to deal with the various issues that involve removing the monument.

“We’re working on that right now.  The monument is 18-feet tall and with the weight it has, that is not going to be that easy to do. What we also have to think about is where is it going?” Bellard said.

What’s the Next Destination?

Bellard said the Opelousas Museum and Interpretative Center has shown some interest in potentially placing the monument at that location.

“It’s obvious that you can’t put the monument inside (the museum). You would have to place the monument somewhere outside the museum if it should go there. That’s a decision that the mayor and the city officials would have to make,” Bellard said.

What Will Replace the Monument?

Bellard said he would like to create what he calls a “Wall of Heroes,” dedicated to local police officers, firefighters and first responders.

The exact concept for what would be inscribed on the wall is still under consideration, Bellard said.

“If you go out to the Veteran’s Memorial, they have a wall with the names of families and soldiers from the parish who have served in the military. I would maybe like to do something like that for our local heroes who have been on the frontlines, assisting our residents,” Bellard said.   

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