SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — After months of protests and legal battles, the Confederate monument on the north side of the Caddo Courthouse lawn in downtown Shreveport will be moving to DeSoto Parish.
But that does not mean any controversy is over.
“We don’t want it. We don’t want Shreveport trash, because that’s what it is. Our citizens don’t want it," said Breka Peoples, a community activist from DeSoto Parish. "My inbox is full with it, and we don’t want it. DeSoto Parish don’t want it.”
The statue’s new home will be near the Civil War battlefield site in Mansfield, according to the Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
“The statue, itself, brings with it a bit of hatred, white supremacy, systemic racism," community activist and pastor Linus Mayes said. "This is what we see as African-Americans when we get ready to go into the courthouse.”
Caddo spokeswoman Krystle Grindley said the parish does not have an estimate for the cost or timeline for the relocation.
Will James, who for years has been leading protests outside the monument, said he feels like parish officials are dragging their feet in the relocation process. “Of course there’s still no timeline.
"We’re tired of them just putting out information, just trying to placate the people. The same way it’s been rushing everywhere else throughout the country, please don’t put this out thinking we’re going to stop voicing our concerns.”
James said he will be holding protests every week until the monument is removed.
The parish is in the initial stages of creating the request for a proposal, which then will be subject to review by the parish administration and parish attorney, according to Grindley.
Mayes said he is excited about the monument being relocated. “That statue should have been removed, like other states, a long time ago. Anyone with a moral consciousness would know what this statue represents and what it stands for.”
In the following statement sent by email to KSLA News 12, the spokesperson for the UDC’s Shreveport chapter says that group also is ready for the move.
"The members of Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy are delighted with the agreement that we have reached with Caddo Parish that recognizes our legal ownership rights of our monument.
"We are saddened that our monument will be moved from the parish courthouse, but it will be going to a place of honor and alongside graves of Confederate heroes to fulfill its purpose as a tombstone for soldiers from Caddo Parish who died on distant battlefields.
"The UDC has always strived to locate our monuments in places where they would be honored and safe from harm. Given that the Caddo Parish Courthouse is no longer a secure site, we are grateful that our monument will soon be moved to a new permanent location that we chose on private land and near a Civil War battlefield site where it will once again be protected and revered for generations to come.
“As for a timeline for the move, it depends on how quickly a qualified contractor can be selected through the parish’s bid process. Since the parish is paying all costs associated with the relocation of our monument and controlling the bid process, we are unsure as to a completion date but hope this happens soon.”
But not all are pleased with the move.