UPDATE: Crews will reportedly begin removing the Mouton statue Saturday at 11 a.m., according to an attorney representing Move the Mindset. The group was informed by the administration of the plan Friday evening. Updated July 17, 2021 at 9:20 a.m.
Just 10 days before the matter was set for trial, the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to surrender its legal defense of the Alfred Mouton statue and allow Lafayette Consolidated Government to move the Confederate monument from its perch in Downtown Lafayette.
Negotiations appeared to have failed when the UDC dismissed its attorney in protest of an earlier offer, but the parties reached an agreement Thursday, according to Jerome Moroux, an attorney representing racial justice advocacy Move the Mindset, which had signed on to the suit and spearheaded the local movement to remove the statue.
“For ninety-nine years, this Confederate statue has stood at the gateway of Lafayette, a symbol of one of the ugliest and most shameful eras in American history,” Move the Mindset said in a statement. “We celebrate today for all of Acadiana.”
For years, Move the Mindset lobbied for removal, pushing unsuccessfully against social and political resistance until 2020 brought new momentum and an ally in Mayor-President Josh Guilllory. LCG’s legal department, joined by attorneys representing Move the Mindset, were beset with delays as they pressed their case in the 15th Judicial District Court for over a year after receiving their directive from the mayor-president in July of last year.
“The statute in Downtown Lafayette is not a statue that honors the valor of the Opelousas-born Confederate general, Alfred Mouton. It is a Jim Crow statue erected 99 years ago to intimidate an entire class of people,” Guillory said in a statement. “The hate of the Jim Crow era does not represent the values of our community, and a statue that glorifies that cause is wrong. We can honor our past and heritage without hurting an entire group of our people.”
The deal struck between the UDC and LCG nullifies the injunction ordered in 1980 that city-parish attorneys previously held was ironclad. UDC owns the statue, but the city of Lafayette owns the land.
LCG will pay up to $20,000 to move the statue and construct a base for it at a new location determined by UDC within the state of Louisiana, and purchase $5,000 to insure it during transport and installation. UDC has 45 days to pick a new home for Alfred Mouton, or LCG can “dispose of the statute as it sees fit,” according to the consent judgment enshrining the terms of the deal.
Move the Mindset will host a press conference Friday at 2 p.m. at the statue.
This is a breaking story. It will be updated throughout the day.