Bicentennial party continues despite suit threat
By William Johnson
A suit by a local group of Confederate Civil War re-enactors almost derailed Saturday's
St. Landry Parish Bicentennial party.
"We have retained legal representation and hope to obtain a temporary restraining
order in District Court," said David Richard Thursday morning.
But by the afternoon both Richard's group, the Opelousas-based Brigadier General
J.J. Alfred A. Mouton Camp 778, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the parish
had reached an understanding and both seemed pleased.
Melanie Lee, who heads up the parish Bicentennial Committee, said the entire
matter was a misunderstanding.
"We didn't tell them they couldn't participate," Lee said.
She said the committee did ask the group not to display the Confederate battle
flag, which some people consider an offensive sign of racial oppression. But
beyond that made no demands on the group.
Lee said, as the purpose of the celebration is to celebrate the parish's history,
leaving out the Civil War was never considered. The old governor's mansion,
which served as the state capital during part of the war, is on the historical
tours that are part of the festival.
Richard agreed. "There were several battles and skirmishes in the parish
during the War Between the States," he said. "This was an important
event that left its mark on our parish."
Now that all matters are resolved, Richard said SCV members, some in historically
accurate uniforms, will be on hand to share period weapons, photographs and
documents about the parish's Civil War history.
He said the SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, the
oldest hereditary organization for male descendants of Confederate soldiers.
First organized at Richmond, Va., in 1896, Richard said the SCV continues to
serve as a historical, patriotic and non-political organization dedicated to
ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.
The Mouton Camp has served Opelousas and the surrounding area since 2000.
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