Natchitoches mayor holds press conference about Confederate flag issue

Natchitoches mayor holds press conference about Confederate flag issue

NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - The mayor of Natchitoches, La. held a press conference regarding the recent controversy on banning the Confederate flag from the city's annual Christmas parade.

The Natchitoches Parish voters and Civic League went to Mayor Lee Posey this summer about the display of Confederate flags in the parade, asking the city to not allow them.

On Nov. 2, Posey sent a letter to the Christmas festival committee saying in part, "The city has determined that a significant portion of the public associate the confederate flag with organizations advocating expressions of hate, racism and intolerance directed toward people or groups that is demeaning to these people or groups."

Last week, Mayor Posey met with the Sons of Confederate Veterans group about the issue. However, the two sides were unable to agree on a compromise. As a result, for the 2015 Natchitoches Christmas parade, after more than 20 years of participating, the Sons of Confederate Veterans Louisiana Division group will be missing from the lineup. 

The group has chosen not to participate in the parade because Mayor Lee Posey banned the confederate battle flag from being carried by groups participating in the parade. Posey says he offered the Sons of Confederate Veterans a compromise to participate in the parade, as long as they didn't carry the controversial confederate battle flag.

"For many the confederate flag is a symbol of hate, bigotry, violence and division," said Mayor Posey.

However, according to group president Thomas Taylor, the Sons of Confederate Veteran's refuse to march without the flag.

"Why should we change what we've been doing peacefully for 25 years?" Taylor said.

Taylor explained the mayor told him of his final decision this morning.  "He caved to the perpetually offended people," Taylor said.

Mayor Posey said Monday afternoon, several community groups back his decision, including Citizens for Democratic Action.

"I applaud the mayor's decision," said Harold Bayonne, president of Citizens for Democratic Action.

Public Works Director Michael Braxton hopes everybody can put their differences aside and come together for the occasion. "It's been done for many many years and the downtown area is pretty and ready for this parade," said Braxton.

It's a sentiment Mayor Posey echoes, hoping the big crowds will show up, controversy or not.  "Our Christmas festival is about the birth of Jesus Christ, it's about all the things that go with kids and family," said Posey. 
Posey also clarified, he is not banning the public display of the confederate flag, he's just not allowing groups in the parade to carry it.

In the press conference, Mayor Posey stated, "I'm elected by people in this community to make the best decisions for this community."

Click here to read Mayor Posey's full statement.

Click here to read the statement from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Louisiana Division.

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