SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Confederate monument on the front lawn of the Caddo Parish Courthouse isn’t going anywhere – at least for now.
A Caddo district judge issued an order Friday blocking Caddo Parish and the Caddo Parish Commission from removing the Confederate monument from the courthouse property.
The Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy requested the temporary restraining order in a lawsuit filed Thursday, just days before the 90-day deadline set by the parish in August for the removal of the monument. In that letter, the parish notified the UDC that if they didn’t remove it by November 26, the parish would claim it as their property under Article 493 of the Louisiana Civil Code and remove it for them.
In its suit, the UDC claims that law was not meant for use in this way and never has been used for this purpose. They say Article 493 was meant to give property owners the right to claim and remove abandoned oil wells left on their property by lessees.
The suit also notes that UDC’s attorney met with attorneys for the Parish and the commission last Friday in an effort to resolve the issues, but the suit says “these efforts were unsuccessful and defendants indicated they were going to proceed with the 493 proceeding.”
“No political subdivision in Louisiana has ever taken this drastic step and thus should not be allowed at this present time,” the petition says. It also argues that the UDC is concerned that the monument will be damaged or destroyed.
“The right of ownership inherently includes the right to desecrate or destroy one’s property and petitioner shows that it has grave concerns that such may occur.”
A January 13 court date has been set for the parish to make their case for moving forward with the removal of the monument under Article 493.
The latest suit comes more than two years after the Caddo Parish Commission first voted to voted to remove the monument in October 2017. The UDC immediately filed suit to block the removal on the grounds that it has a “private property interest” in the land where the statue stands in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse. It also claims parish officials violated its rights to free speech and equal protection.
A federal judge in Monroe threw out the suit last year, a decision that has since been upheld by a federal appeals court.