Lafayette’s troubled legacy of Confederate General Alfred Mouton and his statue

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Move the Mindset, a group that wants the statue of Confederate Gen. Alfred Mouton removed from downtown Lafayette, hosts a press conference. August 23, 2017. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE / USATODAY Network)

Move the Mindset, a group that wants the statue of Confederate Gen. Alfred Mouton removed from downtown Lafayette, hosts a press conference. August 23, 2017. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE / USATODAY Network)

LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser) — At the intersection of Lee Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette stands the statue of Confederate General Alfred Mouton.

For 98 years, the statue has stood on city property in front of Lafayette’s old City Hall, now the Lafayette International Center. There have been efforts to remove it, arguments that its symbolism is offensive to many.

But it remains today, a place for people like Kenneth Broussard to protest.

Broussard sits at the base of the statue in silent solidarity with all who suffer from racism, spurred on by the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis in police custody.

Broussard, who is white, meditates, walks, and says a closing prayer beside the statue of General Mouton. But he intentionally turns his back to Mouton.

“We sit to deepen the compassion in our own hearts. We sit to listen, so that we can hear more deeply ourselves,” he said. “And to face our own shortcomings, just areas of unconscious bias within us, as much as possible.”

After a week of reflection and silent protest each day, Broussard came to the conclusion that the white community is just like the Mouton statue.

“We don’t move. We don’t listen. We don’t hear the voices of others around us. We don’t see the racism,” he said. “And when we do, sometimes our hands just sit by our sides and our feet stay planted in the ground.

“There is racism in Lafayette, I don’t care what anyone says. Talking about it isn’t a bad thing, we have to face it. If we don’t face it, we cant deal with it.”

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