Former Richwood mayor dies - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Former Richwood mayor dies

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COLUMBIA, La. (KNOE 8 News) - On Saturday, a former Mayor of Richwood died. Verdiacee Hampton Goston, also known as the empress to many people across the country, died at her home in California. Only serving one term as the mayor of Richwood, Goston was more well-known as the leader of the Washitaw Nation. 

Longtime friend, Willie Mae Davis said Goston was like a mother to her. Davis' daughter, Vickie Williams, said she grew up knowing Goston as a grandmother. Both said the empress was a loving person who wanted to help people. And they said, she was very much misunderstood by those who didn't know her.

Goston founded the Washitaw Nation organization at a very young age and she even wrote the book “Return of the Ancient Ones.” 

Williams and Davis say the nation of Washitaw runs from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico along the path of the Mississippi River.

“It’s indigenous people. Any nationality of people that come together and this comes from the mound builders, which are Indians. That is why we go to Poverty Point every year for Juneteeth because of the eagle and all the different huts and the mounds," Williams said.  

During her lifetime, the empress was investigated by the FBI for tax evasion, but was never charged. Williams and Davis said it was a case of identity theft.

They said even though Goston believed her native lands had been stolen from her, she paid taxes and lived by the laws of United States like everyone else.

 Williams and Davis said she also traveled all over the world trying to help people. They said her civil rights activism and love of people led her to become mayor of Richwood.    

Davis and Williams said she had many high profile friends including former Governor John McKeithen and current congressional candidate Edwin Edwards.  

But they said no matter a person's position in life, the empress loved everyone the same.

"She had her strong beliefs that everybody was supposed to be treated equal no matter what their color, what their race was or what they believed in or what kind of valuable they had," Williams said.

The empress was cremated and her ashes will be scattered this summer. Davis and Williams said there is not one spot, but many places they will scatter her ashes. They said she will spend her after life just like she did her life, as a free spirit. 


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