Story at a glance
- Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana early Thursday morning.
- In Lake Charles, severe storms brought down a statue of a Confederate soldier.
Just two weeks after the city of Lake Charles, La., voted to keep a Confederate monument standing, Hurricane Laura brought it down on Thursday with 150 mph winds as it made landfall along the state’s coast.
The Daily Advertiser reports that the statue, The South’s Defenders Monument, was the subject of a contentious debate, which ended in a vote on Aug. 13. The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury ultimately voted 10-4 to keep the statue in place, even as a national reckoning — sparked by police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — pushed other states and municipalities to take down their Confederate monuments and statues.
While The South’s Defenders Monument was expected to stay in front of a Lake Charles courthouse, Hurricane Laura toppled the statue after making landfall as one of the strongest storms to hit Louisiana on record. The hurricane barreled into the state as a Category 4 hurricane, eventually dwindling to a Category 2 storm.
After Laura tore through the parish and further inland, images of the destruction were captured online. Pictures show a Confederate soldier holding a flag lying at the base of the monument.
Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish has been filled with controversy and tension after our parish government by a vote of 10-5 refused to take down the Confederate South’s Defenders Monument.— Davante Lewis (@davantelewis) August 27, 2020
Hurricane Laura had other plans and brought it down herself. pic.twitter.com/HmyCVlJF8k
The statue was erected in 1915 to honor fallen Confederate soldiers that hailed from Lake Charles and other parts of the South. Calcasieu Parish officials noted that they had received 945 responses from the community in regards to the decision to remove it.
“Of the total responses, 878 were against relocating the monument and 67 were for relocating the monument,” Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam told reporters.
The base of The South’s Defenders Monument remains, with no word of what will happen to the broken top portion of the statue.
Multiple states across the South have decided to remove Confederate monuments, as renewed Black Lives Matter protests call for an end to systemic and institutional racism in the U.S.
Hurricane Laura has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but the National Hurricane Center issued a weather advisory on Thursday for coastal parts of Texas and Louisiana. The center warned that dangerous winds and flooding rainfall are also spreading inland.