Alexandria City Council votes find out who has ownership of controversial monument

Statue currently outside Rapides Parish Courthouse
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 9:07 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria City Council met Tuesday to discuss a number of topics, including a monument in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse.

It’s been a hot topic following the death of George Floyd. On Tuesday, the Alexandria City Council wrapped up a discussion about a confederate monument here in Alexandria. The confederate monument currently stands in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council voted to have a judge find out who actually owns the statue in an effort to move it. City Attorney David Williams told the council,” There’s no documentation but we, the city, believe that we are in ownership of the statue.” Now, the city is requesting declaratory judgment from a judge so they can move forward and move the statue.

“We want a court to tell us we’re the owners so we can remove it and not be wrapped up in litigation for four to five years.”

City Attorney David Williams

Williams will file the measure Friday morning.

Almost a dozen people spoke on the agenda item and many had to stand outside the council chambers to wait.

There were several resolutions on the agenda discussed Tuesday aimed at the removal. The first item, the introduction of an ordinance ordering the removal of the Confederate monument. The ordinance was put in the legal committee which means there will be another opportunity for people to voice their opinion at the next council meeting. Following the committee hearing, it will be referred to the full council for a vote. The second item, declaring the statue as surplus and to be sold at public auction, was taken off the agenda altogether, meaning the council didn’t want to do that and abandoned that course of action. The third item authorizes the mayor and the city attorney to file declaratory action against all interested parties to declare ownership of the statue. This way the city has ownership and can move forward with the removal of the statue, which Williams says is legally the best course of action.

This is the second attempt by the council to remove the statue. Back in 2017, the council tried to remove it but there was confusion over who actually owns the memorial. It is believed to be either owned by the city, Rapides Parish Police Jury or the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The statue itself celebrates fallen confederate statues with the soldier placed at the top of a pedestal.

Last week, the Historical Association of Cenla voted to move the statue to a state historic site. The group along with the Rotary Club will help chip-in with moving expenses.

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