Panel holds first of 4 hearings about Confederate monument - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Panel holds first of 4 hearings about Confederate monument

(Source: KSLA News 12) (Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: Bubba Kneipp/KSLA) (Source: Bubba Kneipp/KSLA)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Members of the public got an opportunity Thursday to weigh in on what should happen with the Confederate monument that stands outside the Caddo Courthouse in downtown Shreveport. 

The gathering was one of a series of meetings a Caddo Commission citizens advisory committee has set up seeking input on the monument, which has been the subject of controversy and vandalism over the years. 

The panel was formed last year to make non-binding suggestions for the future of the historic statue that marks the spot where the Confederate flag last was lowered on land.

The first of the citizens advisory committee hearings was held at the Southern Hills Business Association.

Committee members say they will gather feedback gathered at other hearings as well and evaluate suggestions to be included in the recommendation to the Caddo Commission, which is expected next month.

The 30-foot-tall, 60,000-pound granite and marble cenotaph (a monument erected in honor of a group of people whose remains are elsewhere) and built by noted Texas sculptor Frank Teich was dedicated May 1, 1906, on the north lawn of the third Caddo Courthouse, which was torn down and replaced by the current courthouse 20 years later.

The committee's options for its non-binding recommendation to the commission range include outright removal and relocation, creating companion or parallel monuments or memorials and leaving the monument as it now exists.

The idea of a separate monument outside the courthouse has been a popular idea, said Gary Joiner, vice president of the citizens advisory board.

"Let's do something that again is tied directly to Caddo Parish but for the civil rights movement," added Joiner, who chairs the history and social sciences department at LSU-Shreveport.

"I would like to see the statue be moved," countered Lloyd Thompson, president of the NAACP's Shreveport chapter.

He contends that the monument sends the wrong message to people coming to the courthouse seeking justice.

"If the statue means that much, let's put it where they still can, you know, they have a Confederate, well, veterans graveyard. Maybe move it there somewhere."

Committee members said they also can recommend a final resolution of the issue of ownership of the monument, which was suggested by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the late 1890s and was funded in 1903 through contributions from the UDC, the public and the Caddo Parish Police Jury, the forerunner of today's Caddo Commission.

It also involves a dispute over land ownership in front of the courthouse, where the statue sits.

Other citizens advisory panel hearings about the monument are set for

  • May 16 at Morning Star Baptist Church, 5340 Jewella Ave.;
  • May 18 at Donnie Bickham Middle School, 7240 Old Mooringsport Road; and,
  • May 23 at Broadmoor Middle Laboratory School, 441 Atlantic Ave.

Each will begin at 6 p.m. and last no more than 90 minutes. 

Cards will be provided at each meeting for the orderly participation of those who wish to speak. Each speaker is limited to three minutes.

Those who are unable to attend a hearing can submit comments in writing by email to caddolrpcac@gmail.com or by mail to P.O. Box 52104 Shreveport, LA 71135.

Copyright 2017 KSLA. All rights reserved.

  • KSLA Online Poll

  • What should happen to the Confederate monument outside the Caddo Parish Courthouse?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Get rid of it
    14%
    111 votes
    Create a companion or parallel monument or memorial
    4%
    35 votes
    Leave it where it is
    82%
    663 votes
  • Public hearing set on future of Confederate Monument in downtown Shreveport
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