Caddo Confederate Monument

UPDATE: 

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in their fight to keep the Confederate monument on the Caddo Parish Courthouse grounds. 

Said spokeswoman Jackie Nichols: "Our petition was denied today by the Supreme Court. Although we are disappointed by this news, we are not dissuaded in our fight to protect our monument. We fight on!"

The denial of the writ upholds the previous decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of the Parish, dismissing the lawsuit.

“The parish is pleased that we have additional confirmation that we have the right to decide whether the Confederate monument can remain on the Courthouse grounds,” said Donna Frazier, parish attorney.

POSTED MONDAY, Oct. 7:

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The United Daughters of the Confederacy says a monument in front of a Louisiana courthouse that's been ordered removed is considered very fragile and could cost $1 million to be taken down safely.

The UDC told KTSB-TV they hired an expert witness who says the 116-year-old statue outside of Shreveport's Caddo Parish Courthouse could fall apart if it isn't moved carefully. They say the Mississippi Stone Guild found it would take nearly $1 million to properly move it.

On Sept. 30, a planning committee recommended setting aside half of that in city funds if the group doesn't move the monument itself by mid-November.

The Shreveport Times reports UDC spokeswoman Jackie Nichols told the commission Thursday the amount proposed isn't enough and contends the group never said it would pay for the removal.

POSTED FRIDAY, Oct. 4:

SHREVEPORT, La. – A half-million dollars or $1.2 million. How much will it cost to remove the Confederate monument in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse?

The wide-ranging estimates are as far apart as the opinions on either side of the dispute that’s been ongoing for more than two years.

A Caddo Parish Commission committee on Monday recommended setting aside $500,000 to remove the monument. That number has yet to be considered by the full commission.

Jackie Nichols, a spokeswoman for Shreveport Chapter No. 237 United Daughters of the Confederacy, which owns the monument, said on Thursday their “expert witness” put the removal and reassembly cost in excess of $1.2 million.

Caddo Parish is not the first to grapple with monument removals and costs associated with the labor-intensive task.

In 2017, New Orleans paid $2.1 million to remove four monuments – far exceeding the initial $170,000 estimate, according to a CNN report. The same year, San Antonio, Texas, paid $258,680 to take down a statue there, Fox News reported. Both figures included costs such as police security and barricades. The New Orleans’ figure also included $50,000 to build a special shed to house one of the monuments.

In Dallas, which recently removed a statue of Robert E. Lee for around $450,000 according to CBS 11, the city may spend more money to remove another Confederate monument and change street names.

“Your estimates for this job are still significantly too low,” Nichols told the Caddo commission Thursday, adding, “If any attempt is made to move our fragile sculpture, Caddo Parish will be libel for ALL repair costs, totaling $980,000.”

The commission in August told the UCD it had 90 days to remove the monument, putting the time frame around Thanksgiving. An attorney that responded to the commission on the UDC’s behalf said the notice was invalid.

Commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson clarified at this week’s meeting the commission is “not trying to tear it down, deface it or nothing like that.”

He referenced the movement across the country to remove monuments from public property – most often in front of courthouses – to places such as museums, an art gallery or cemeteries. Johnson also pointed out that none of the other court facilities in the city have monuments in front of them.

Commissioner John Atkins said he was among the minority on the commission who were outvoted in their support for the monument staying. However, with the decision made, he wants to see the commission do the best to protect it and place it in a place where it can be “respected” and for all to enjoy. He called for an “economically responsible” way get that done.

Referring to the prolonged court battle about whether the statue stays or goes, Nichols said the court ruling gives the commission the right to remove it but not to demolish it, saw it up, diminish its value or charge the chapter for moving it.

She said there is no saw capable of separating the drums of the monument’s column, with one part valued at $300,000.

And she hinted more legal action may be in the works.

“When we sue the commission and their hired vandals, will the taxpayers of Caddo Parish stand for paying our chapter almost a million dollars in damages? Yet you will force the citizens that do pay taxes to foot this expense,” Nichols said.

She challenged them to “weight the cost of paying us for the damage to our property against no cost to table this entire cultural war against our small group, who are actually your voters and taxpayers.”

Johnson said he has no doubt the commission room will be full of supporters and opponents when the vote is taken to spend the money for the monument’s removal.

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