Beauvoir to pursue Confederate monuments removed from New Orleans. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
As the statue of Robert E. Lee came down from its pedestal Friday, the battle to remove Confederate era monuments from New Orleans came to a close. Now the question remains, what will become of those monuments?
Beauvoir Executive Director Dr. Tom Payne is hopeful that Mayor Mitch Landrieu will listen to the museum's request to bring the monuments, or at least just the Jefferson Davis monument, to South Mississippi.
"Beauvoir has indicated on numerous occasions, through the press and we've made direct contact, or left a message with the mayor's office in New Orleans that we're very much interested in getting any or all of those statues because of their iconic value and the historical value of those statues and they would fit here in our museum," said Payne.
Landrieu's office has announced a bidding process will be put into place to move the monuments. While Beauvoir does not have the funds to make an outright bid, Payne says he believes they could raise the money through donations.
"My job, and the core mission of Beauvoir, is to educate and commemorate," said Payne. "We educate about president Jefferson Davis since this was his last home. And we commemorate his life and the life of the confederate soldier."
Some visitors to Beauvoir this weekend, like Marian Chambers and John Burkard, had strong feelings about what to do with the monuments.
"As an educator, I feel like, that you should keep the monuments," said Chambers, "You need to have a place that people can go and look at the monuments. They can see the monuments and read about history. Let's face it, why hide history?"
"This would be a good resting place for it," Burkard said, "This is heritage. It's something we grew up with. Something we believe in. Good or bad, it is what it is."
Payne says Beauvoir has not had the same negative fallout that led to the removal of the statues.
"We have not yet had any ostensible negative reaction to what we do here. And it's probably because what we do here is certainly above board," said Payne. "We are not anyone who defends slavery. But we do depict it, and we will interpret the history of it."
Landrieu says the city is working on a long term plan for how the monument sites will be changed. He did note that an American flag will fly at the site where the Jefferson Davis monument stood.