Demonstrators waved Confederate flags outside the Louisiana State Capitol Thursday in protest of New Orleans’ contentious decision to replace four monuments in the city representing Confederate leaders and in support of three bills before the Legislature that aim to protect those monuments.
Unfortunately for the demonstrators, the Senate had adjourned Wednesday night for the weekend and the House was tied up the entire day in debate over the bill that funds the state’s operation for the next fiscal year.
Most demonstrators waved various Confederate and American flags and hailed from northern and central Louisiana, including Prairieville, Marksville, Opelousas, Jennings, Oak Grove, Morehouse Parish and Monroe. One pair was from Texas.
Amanda Jennings from West Monroe was one of the demonstrators wearing a Confederate baseball cap and a large, matching flag. She said she was physically attacked Sunday night when protesting at the monument of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
New Orleans is in the process of removing four Confederate-oriented statutes in prominent public locations to a lower profile building in City Park.
“We were completely peaceful and had been the entire time,” Jennings said. ”We’re way outnumbered.”
Jennings said college students, who she termed “terrorists,” harassed her and her fellow demonstrators. After that, “paid agitators” pushed her and threw full Coke cans at her group. “It’s very organized,” she said.
“ISIS and all these terrorists groups, that’s what they do — they attack our history [until] we don’t have any history. And then no one will know that we ever stood up to our government.”
Jennings maintains the Confederate statues and Confederacy in general do not represent racism or white supremacy.
“What they have in the history books is not true,” she proclaimed. “They can’t refer to us as white supremacists, either. We’re fixing to sue a few.”
The demonstrators support three bills this session:
* House Bill 71 by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, would ensure conservation of public military memorials. It passed the House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee 10-8 Wednesday and awaits debate before the full House next week.
* Senate Bill 198 by Sen. Beth Mizzel, R-Franklinton, would require legislative approval before local or political subdivisions remove monuments. It is before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
* House Bill 292 by Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, would prohibit the state, parishes, cities and all other political subdivisions from destroying, removing, moving, storing or hiding historic memorials or structures, images or plaques related to any U.S. war or conflict, American presidents or the nation’s founding. It is in the House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee.