The city of Lafayette, Louisiana has voted to remove a statue of a Confederate fighter from the city, The Advocate reported. However, the group that put up the statue has gotten a court order preventing the removal, and the matter will have to go before a judge.
Tuesday night's city council meeting turned into a nine-hour marathon that stretched until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. When all was said and done, the city's leaders had voted unanimously to support Mayor-President Josh Guillory's calls to remove the statue of Confederate General Alfred Mouton from a prominent place in the city's downtown.
Like dozens of statues honoring Confederate fighters all across the country, the statue of Mouton, a slave owner who died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Mansfield, was erected in the early years of the 20th century.
In this case, the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid to create the statue and donated it to the city, which then placed it at a major intersection downtown.
For years, some residents of the area have asked for the statue to be removed completely or moved to another location, and in 2016, a local group, "Move the Mindset," was formed with a view towards educating the community about Mouton's life, as well as the cultural and political climate of the time period when the statue was erected.
Guillory, for his part, had also been keen to have the monument moved, such as to a museum, where it could be placed in its historical context. On July 2, he asked the city's authorities to research what could be done about the statue.
Wednesday morning's vote, which was received with applause from the crowd, effectively supported Guillory's plan to have the statue removed.
"We have an opportunity as a community to heal, to right a wrong. If you want to preserve history, do so, but without harming an entire class of people," Guillroy said before the vote.
Further, the Republican politician referenced the fact that other Republicans have been adamant about not removing Confederate memorials, equating the process to "erasing history."
"Fear not this change, for this change is healthy. This is a community that is healing," he said.
However, the monument's removal faces a court battle.
All the way back in the 1980s, the city of Lafayette had discussed moving the statue, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy got a permanent court injunction against moving the memorial. The city will have to overcome that injunction to proceed with its removal plans, and indeed, a court hearing is set for the matter on August 17.