33 Photos & Videos that Captured The Historic Removal of the Mouton Statue
After standing at the corner of Jefferson and Lee streets for nearly 100 years, a statue honoring Confederate General Alfred Mouton has been removed from Downtown Lafayette.
On Friday (7/16), it was reported that the United Daughters of the Confederacy surrendered its "legal defense of the Alfred Mouton statue," reaching a deal with Lafayette Consolidated Government just days before the issue was set to go to trial.
Within 24 hours, there were rumors that the statue would be moved and soon those rumors were confirmed to be true when a crane truck pulled up along Jefferson Street next to the Mouton statue.
Move The Mindset President Fred Prejean was one of the first people on the scene as the trucks pulled up next to the statue site.
Move the Mindset member Margaret Oelkers showed up early to reserve a spot at Carpe Diem to witness the historic removal of the statue. Here she is informing MTM President Fred Prejean and Ola Prejean of the timeline of events that was set to take place in regards to the removal of the Mouton statue.
Soon, a crowd began to gather as word about the statue's removal began to spread on social media.
Eventually, members of the LCG administration showed up to confirm the removal of the Alfred Mouton statue would be happening that morning. Flanked by local religious leaders, Chief of Minority Affairs Carlos Harvin addressed the small crowd and media members that had gathered near the monument site.
Harvin introduced multiple religious leaders, including Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel and Bishops of Gethsemane Church of God in Christ Alton Gatlin and Vanessa Gatlin, who all delivered a message of unity and love as well as the hope that the day would be a symbolic one in terms of how we move forward as a community.
After remarks were delivered by religious leaders, Harvin introduced Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory as "healer-in-chief" to speak on a day where he said he couldn't have been "more proud to be the mayor-president.”
Guillory commended the community on having trust in the legal process and not forcibly removing the monument. Once legal hurdles were cleared, Guillory said he wanted to waste no time when it came to removing the statue.
Surrounded by religious leaders, Guillory and members of his administration led the Lord's prayer before the removal process began.
Once the grounds were cleared and crews had a safe space to work, a crane began to move a set of straps into place above the Mouton statue.
Once the straps were in place, crews set up a ladder in order to climb up to the statue to secure it for transport.
Once they climbed the ladder, crews were able to methodically place the straps in place for the Mouton statue to be lifted and transported to a nearby truck bed.
Just as soon as the straps were on, the statue almost instantly lifted from the platform where it has stood for nearly a century. As the monument swayed in mid-air, cheers could be heard by the small crowd who had gathered to witness a piece of Lafayette history.
Photographers rushed to get a shot of the newly-removed statue of the former Confederate General as it lay face down on the back of the truck that eventually transport it to an undisclosed resting place.
While the most recognizable part of the monument had been removed, there was still work for the crews to do.
There were still two parts of the statue base to carefully remove and transport to the truck bed where the first part of the Mouton statue was now resting.
The small crowd stayed gathered to see the remainder of the statue removed, while others celebrated the historic moment by posing in front of the dismantled monument.
Move the Mindset President Fred Prejean made his way over to take a photo in front of the Mouton statue as it rested on the back of the truck, standing next to Attorney Jerome Moreaux who legally represented the MTM group.
Prejean led a group of residents as president of Move the Mindset, launching a lawsuit in 2019 with the intention of undoing a 1980 permanent injunction that prevented the city from moving the statue from its own public property unless the land was sold or if it impeded road work.
Prejean raised his fist and smiled, telling members of the media the moment felt just as sweet as he imagined it would.
At one point, Prejean channeled a bit of Nelson Mandela by saying that "everything seems impossible until it's done" speaking on the long and tumultuous process that it took for the statue to be removed from public land in Downtown Lafayette.
Prejean also shared a personal moment with Mayor-President Josh Guillory as the rest of the monument was removed.
Once crews were finished, the only thing that remained was a concrete slab where the Mouton statue stood for nearly a century. As far as future plans go, there have been talks of a flagpole, and possibly an area for the public to reflect on the community's history and discuss ways for us to move forward.
Local faith leader Cory Levier celebrated the moment by standing atop the platform that held the statue of a Confederate General just minutes prior.
For now, we don't know where the statue is, or where its final resting place will be—but after 99 years, it is no longer standing in Downtown Lafayette.