Opelousas Heritage Victory, but it still stings
After a very stressful week, the Mouton Camp has won the right to participate in this Saturday’s St. Landry Parish Bicentennial Celebration. Please see pre and post press releases below.
After securing the representation of Lomax "Max" Jordan, Jr., well known attorney from Lafayette, and funds to help pay for him by the SCV Heritage Defense Chief, we scared St. Landry Parish and the Bicentennial Committee into reversing their discriminatory decision not to allow us to set up a booth at the courthouse square.
The Bicentennial Committee chose to deny our request for booth space, knowing full well that the decision was a violation of the Camp’s rights of free speech and assembly. The committee even ignored its own request and invitation it had sent out to local groups and organizations to take advantage of free booth space to show off their products, history accomplishments and so on. The camp even appeared before the committee at a second meeting and after responding to all their questions about the organization, the dreaded "flag" question came up. Of course after we indicated that we would be displaying the flag, we were thanked and summarily voted against, AGAIN! This even after being told by the parish president and the committee chair that they knew they could not deny us.
A mutual decision was reached before our attorney actually had to file for a temporary restraining order which allows us to set up a table and share our Camp during the celebration.
Unfortunately, the chairperson of the committee covered her tail today when she reported to the Daily World newspaper that they never really told us we could not participate and that it was all a misunderstanding, making us look like chumps. Right, we’d spend precious heritage defense funds to fight a misunderstanding. The article is in the DW this morning at http://www.dailyworld.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070330/NEWS01/703300306/1002
Please consider registering at the DW and leaving courteous but firm comments. WE expect to set up and act as we always have, in a way that makes our ancestors proud, but boy those politicians and government folk sure know how to stick it to the little guy.
Mouton Camp 778
Press Release #1
Sons of Confederate Veterans to Fight Discrimination
The local Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, recently barred by the St. Landry Parish Bicentennial Committee from participating in this Saturday’s activities, have retained legal representation and hope to obtain a temporary restraining order in District Court.
The Brigadier General J.J. Alfred A. Mouton Camp #778 has retained Lafayette Attorney Lomax “Max” Jordan, Jr. to represent them in what they feel is a case of blatant discrimination against its organization. The legal action, expected to be filed this morning, is hoped to bring relief to the Camp and its members from a decision cast by the Bicentennial Committee last week to keep the Sons from setting up a booth at the bicentennial event.
“The Bicentennial Committee, an arm of the parish government, issued an invitation to all local businesses and organizations to take advantage of free booth space on the grounds of the courthouse square” cites a spokesman for the Camp. “Our camp applied and was twice denied permission to participate.” Camp members attended a committee meeting they thought was simply a formality to explain what they had in mind for their booth space, only to be turned down. Phone calls by the Camp to committee chair Melanie Lee were never returned and requests for written reasons for the denial were refused.
“The free speech and assembly rights of the Mouton camp have been denied by the St. Landry Parish Government. We tried to resolve this issue by pointing out the committee’s blatant discrimination and simply asked to participate like all other groups, but we’re shut out” says the camp spokesman. “It’s really a sad day when a local non-profit organization has to fight to defend its civil rights, especially when the violator of those rights is the government that is supposed to represent the people.”
In addition to Max Jordan, the Camp has also been offered assistance by the Rutherford Institute, a non-profit conservative legal organization based in Virginia that is dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights.
The SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. Organized at Richmond, Virginia in 1896, 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 SCV is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. The Mouton Camp has served Opelousas and the surrounding area since 2000.
Press Release #2
Sons of Confederate Veterans Win Fight to Participate in Bicentennial
The local Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, recently barred by the St. Landry Parish Bicentennial Committee from participating in this Saturday’s activities, have obtained a spot on the courthouse square to celebrate in the bicentennial activities.
The issue was settled Thursday morning to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. Lafayette attorney Lomax “Max” Jordan, Jr., representing the Brigadier General J.J. Alfred A. Mouton Camp #778 of Opelousas, was advised by Parish President Don Menard that a special meeting of the Bicentennial Committee had been held. The meeting resulted in a reversal of the previous decision to exclude the Mouton Camp.
“We are excited about the decision and pleased that the committee saw fit to allow us to participate with other groups and organizations. We are proud of Confederate ancestors, our organization and everything we do and want to share it with those who may not know that much about us.” The Camp plans on setting up displays that include photographs of the many activities it is involved in as well as provide historic displays that help tell the story of St. Landry Parish in the Civil War. “We will have members in uniform and have displays of relics, maps and information on the many military companies raised in St. Landry Parish.” Genealogical information regarding Confederate soldiers from Louisiana will also be offered.
As a non-profit 501.C.3 organization, the Sons are soliciting donations to help offset costs of the legal fees incurred during their effort to secure a place at the Celebration. If you would like to make a donation to the SCV’s Heritage Defense Fund, please call 800-My Dixie or visit www.scv.org.
"The pleasure of victory was turned to grief…Above all, the death of the gallant Mouton affected me"
Gen. Richard "Dick" Taylor after the Battle of Mansfield, April, 1864