Caddo planning subcommission votes to remove courthouse confeder - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

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Caddo planning subcommission votes to remove courthouse confederate monument

(Source: KSLA News 12) (Source: KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

The Caddo Parish Commission's Long-Range Planning/Special Projects Committee voted in favor of removing the parish's Confederate Monument on Tuesday.

The committee voted 4-3 in favor of removing the monument.

Related link: Caddo Parish Commission to discuss fate of courthouse, Confederate Monument

Today's vote goes against the commission's Monument Advisory Committee recommendation made on Aug. 10 to keep the monument with a plaque and erect two monuments to commemorate reconstruction and the civil rights movement.

That vote was delayed twice, on July 5 and July 18 due to missing committee members. 

Some former members of the monument advisory committee came to Tuesday's meeting to reaffirm their recommendation.

"Each party gets something although not all they wanted and it costs the parish nothing. Build rather than destroy," said the monument advisory committee's former secretary, Jackie Nichols.

Nichols also pointed out to the planning committee that out of 232 comments their subcommittee received during the public town halls, 42% were in favor of removing the monument and 58% were in favor of keeping it where it is.

Still, the planning committee voted their own way to remove it.

The former chairman of the monument subcommittee, R.J. Johnson, told KSLA this was always an option.

"The commission has always had the right to either use the recommendation that the committee had come up with or go its own route. They chose to go its own route today," Johnson told KSLA.

However, Johnson said he's proud of the work the subcommittee did and proud that a community dialogue over the monument was had.

"We need to start a dialogue in order to move our community forward, in order to move Caddo Parish forward," he said.

That community dialogue continued on Tuesday in the form of public comments in the double digits.

"If you vote to remove it, you're stirring up a hornet's nest," one parish resident told committee members. "Because if that monument comes down, so does Martin Luther King. It's a monument that represents somebody."

"The person that that monument represents at the courthouse fought to maintain a certain lifestyle for slave owners," resident Bruce Bryant said at the podium.

"Which means they wanted to maintain power, authority and free labor."

Other Shreveport residents question whether the commission can do this.

Shreveport resident John Settle filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment in Caddo Parish district court last Monday, naming both the Caddo Parish Commission and the local Chapter 237 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in it.

In the petition, Settle is asking a judge to determine if the parish .... or the UDC owns the land in the 500 block of Texas Street that the monument stands on.

"The monument is owned by the United Daughters of thew Confederacy and if it's on their land, it may be impossible for the commission to require the removal, much like the commission can't require me to remove part of my house," Settle told KSLA.

According to the listing from the Caddo Parish Tax Assessor's Office, the block the monument stands on is owned by Caddo Parish.

Settle told KSLA both the commission and the UDC have been served his petition and have 15 days to file their pleadings.

Caddo Parish officials told KSLA this decision must now be introduced and approved during two work session on September 18 and September 21.

If it's approved, it will lay over for another two weeks and be up for a public hearing and final passage during the commission's meeting on October 5.

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