Shreveport, La. - Caddo Commissioner Ken Epperson's picture and name will officially be removed from inside the Caddo Parish Courthouse. He requested a picture of Lady Justice be put there instead.
Epperson presented his request at the end of Monday's work session. He says it comes after "appalling" comments from a community member by the name of Bill Nichols, who spoke at his Veteran's Affairs Committee meeting earlier this month.
"My picture up there now represents that I agree with everything that goes on on that particular ground and I do not," he said.
Epperson wants to remove the Confederate monument from outside the courthouse and replace it with one honoring the U.S.S. Golet.
During public comment at the June 6 meeting, Nichols said, "in my opinion, the career of the U.S.S. Golet is really unremarkable. It is not memorialized at the U.S. Submarine Museum in Charleston, nor on the grounds of the Naval Academy in Indianapolis. Other than being listed as one of several submarines lost at sea," he said.
"For anyone to come down and say it was insignificant. It's an insult, it's a front to me as well as all the veterans and I think that that gentleman owes an apology to the United States Navy and all military veterans," said Epperson.
The parish administrator, Dr. Woodrow Wilson, says Epperson's picture will be taken down Tuesday.
Read Nichols' full statement below:
“I understand we are here today to discuss your new monument, however, I would like to say why. In my opinion, the career of the USS Golet is really unremarkable. It is not memorialized at the U.S. Submarine Museum in Charleston, nor on the grounds of the Naval Academy in Indianapolis. Other than being listed as one of several submarines lost at sea. The Golet already exists in honor. I contend, gentleman and ladies, that we are here to discuss the Golet because of your proposal, Commissioner Epperson. It has already been submitted to the Commission that the Golet Monument, which caused for the removal of an existing monument to American Veterans, that being the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument. The Confederate Monument is privately owned by theUnited Daughters of the Confederacy. It is located on a site given to the daughters by the Caddo Parish Police Jury, as stated in the June 18th , 1903 minutes. Besides trying to confiscate private property, the attempt of the body to erase, sanitize, or revise history by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the monument, in my opinion, is cowardous. It is to deny the sacrifices of men who fought for what they believe was their sacred honor, their homes, their families and their states’ rights. The issues that divided the nation then divide us still, only because there are those who want to keep us divided. Actions like this proposal divide us because you are not listening to your constituents. Based on an LSU statewide poll published on April 18th of this year, 3 out of 4 Louisiana residents oppose the removal of confederate monuments. Also, most African Americans residents polled in this same poll also oppose the removal of the confederate monument. More importantly, this Commission does not have legal authority to remove or relocate the confederate monuments. The authority of this Commission comes from Statue RS-33.1236, which is 41 pages long and gives this body authority to relocate streets, roads, bayous, and streams and the like. But absolutely nowhere take over private property, with or without just compensation. Commissioners I ask that you take removal of the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument off your agenda now and keep it off forever.”