SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Work continued Friday on dismantling the Confederate monument that has stood on the Caddo Parish Courthouse lawn in downtown Shreveport for more than 115 years.
Crews could be seen removing the busts from atop the massive marble and granite monument. The box that had surrounded the structure since July 2020 came down last week and screened fencing went up. Scaffolding now surrounds the base and central column.
In addition to the busts of four Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee; P. G. T. Beauregard: Stonewall Jackson, and Henry Watkins Allen, the statue of the Confederate soldier that stood atop the central column was also taken down Friday.
Clio, the Greek goddess of history, no longer stands on the base, pointing to the word “Love” in the inscription on the monument that reads, “Erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 1905, Love’s Tribute to Our Gallant Dead.”
The Florida company contracted to move the statue from the courthouse lawn to private property at the Pleasant Hill Battlefield site in DeSoto Parish has until December 31 to complete the relocation.
The monument is made up of about 16 pieces, some of which weigh several tons each. Parish officials won’t say when the larger pieces are expected to be loaded up for transport to the monument’s new home.
The contract to relocate the Confederate monument was finalized in March, after years of legal battles and delays.
The marble and granite monument was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and erected between 1902 and 1906 on the grounds of the Caddo Parish Courthouse, which was built in 1926, where two previous courthouses stood. One of those original courthouses even served as the state capital of Louisiana during the Civil War.
The Caddo Commission originally voted to remove the monument back in 2017, setting off a legal battle with the Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) over the monument itself and ownership of the land on which it stands. The UDC also claimed parish officials violated its rights to free speech and equal protection.
The UDC and the Caddo Parish Commission ultimately signed a settlement agreement in July 2020 in which the UDC gave ownership of the land on which the memorial sits to Caddo Parish. In exchange, Caddo Parish agreed that UDC owns the monument and that the Parish would foot the bill for its removal, transportation, and re-installation.
The parish commission initially approved spending up to $500,000 to cover the costs, but the parish has since determined that it will cost more to move the monument and allocated more money. The UDC has cited an expert who said the 30-foot-tall marble and granite structure is very fragile and could cost $1.26 million to be taken down and moved safely.