United Daughters of Confederacy Go Before Commission
Actions this week by a planning committee of the Caddo Commission have stirred things up in the debate over the Confederate Monument in front of the Caddo Courthouse.
The committee has allocated $500,000 to pay for removing the statue, if needed.
That prompted Jackie Nichols, spokesperson for Shreveport Chapter #237 United Daughters of the
Confederacy to issue this statement:
Do not Fund moving the monument in your budget.
NEVER has Shreveport Chapter said that we could or WOULD pay for any moving of our
monument. As a non-profit we give to charities. We have very limited funds. The UDC
ladies, and this monument, are currently NOT COSTING THE PARISH A DIME, and Not
YOUR estimates for this job are still significantly too low.
Our expert witness places the cost of the removal and reassembly of the Confederate
monument to be in excess of $1.2 million dollars. The Commission only intends to
budget less than half of the job.
If any attempt is made to move our fragile sculpture, Caddo Parish will be libel for ALL
repair costs, totaling $980,000.
Please remember in Judge James’ ruling you ONLY have the right “to remove the
monument”. You are NOT allowed to demolish it, or “Saw it up”, which would diminish
its value, OR to charge our chapter for moving it. THERE exists no portable SAW
capable of separating the drums of the column, one part that is valued at $300,000.
When we sue the Commission and their “hired vandals”, WILL the taxpayers of Caddo
Parish stand for paying our chapter almost a million dollars in damages? Yet you will
force the citizens that do pay taxes to foot this expense.
This entire mess is a manufactured outrage over points of history none of us can
change and are not OUR fault.
The actual purpose of some elected officials that are “OFFENDED” is to deflect attention
from their corruption and earlier wasteful projects like the auto plant.
Weigh the cost of paying us for the damage to our property against NO COST to table
this entire cultural war against our small group, who are actually YOUR voters and tax
Nichols also included this in the news release she sent out to members of the media:
WHY ARTICLE 493 CANNOT BE USED BY THE CADDO COMMISSION
Below is a list of reasons why Article 493 of the Louisiana Civil Code cannot be legally utilized
by the Caddo Parish Commission to take private property without paying just compensation:
1. The first paragraph of Article 493 states as follows:
���Art. 493. Ownership of Improvements
Buildings, other constructions permanently attached to the ground, and plantings made on
the land of another with his consent belong to him who made them. They belong to the
owner of the ground when they are made without his consent.”
It is obvious that this provision, which has never before been utilized to take private
property without paying for it only applies where the owner of the grounds has not given
“his consent”. Here it is undisputed that the Caddo Parish Police Jury (the predecessor of
the Caddo Parish Commission) approved the location and design of the monument when
it was in 1903 and also contributed substantially to the cost of the monument. It is thus
obvious that the article does not apply.
2. What the Commission seeks to accomplish here is the taking of private property without
paying for it. This is a right it does not have. It comes from both the federal and state
constitutions and is considered a drastic step, and one which requires the execution of an
expropriation proceeding as directed by both the state and federal constitutions. These
proceedings require good faith negotiations, appointment of appraisers, etc., and a trial if
necessary. Our law does not give the Caddo Parish Commission this authority which is
possessed only by public utilities, railroads, school boards, levee boards and the like. The
fact that in its 200-year history, the Police Jury and the Caddo Commissions has never
exercised the authority of expropriation in a way now posed by the Commission is proof
enough that it does not have this authority. It is sad to think that this body can circumvent
the constitutions by what it now proposes to do.
3. In addition to the foregoing Article 493 has no application because it is retroactive and
contrary to the law to the effect that retroactive regulations are not possible or legal. It
was passed in 1979 as act No. 180 of the Louisiana legislature, and obviously cannot be
changed by the Caddo Parish Commission.
All of the above reasons state why the proposed actions of the Commission are unlawful
and unauthorized by law. It simply does not have the power which it now attempts to exercise to
the severe detriment of a private property owner who has done nothing but own, possess and
respect a war memorial well over a century old.
Parish Attorney Donna Frazier has written a letter to the UDC giving them 90 days to move the monument. That 90 days runs out at about Thanksgiving.