Beauvoir troubles more than flap over flag, officials say

By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com
March 17, 2014

BILOXI — Sunday’s article in the Sun Herald about the internal struggles at Beauvoir brought a response Monday from the commander of the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Allen Terrell emailed the response to the shakeup that led to the resignation of two board members and the executive director.

Terrell said the letter was "on behalf of the Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans." As an ex-officio member of the Beauvoir Board of Trustees, Terrell said he was, "in no way speaking for the Combined Boards of Beauvoir."

Rick Forte, chairman of the boards for 25 years, and Beauvoir’s new acting director have not responded to the Sun Herald’s request for comments.

"The Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans are greatly concerned over the events occurring at Beauvoir and are monitoring the situation," Terrell said in his letter.

He also said that Ed Funchess, the vice chairman of the board at Beauvoir who resigned in February, was correct when he said the Confederate flag is not the whole issue at Beauvoir, but is what began the present controversy.

Terrell said the Confederate flag will continue to fly at Beauvoir.

A Confederate battle flag hangs daily among others on a flagpole along U.S. 90.

What has sparked the controversy is a huge flag that hangs on the front of the mansion at Beauvoir on occasion. The next time it is scheduled to be displayed is April 22 for Confederate Memorial Day.

Andi Oustalet said she was told she is no longer welcome at Beauvoir after she asked to have the flag removed from the front of the home. She is a volunteer who created and produced two Christmas at Beauvoir events that drew 13,000 people each year and also organized a three-day celebration for the opening of the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, who resigned this month over the controversy, is the great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis and was executive director of Beauvoir. His response to Sunday’s article has been a flurry of emails, phone calls and Facebook postings from people across the country asking what they can do to help.

"We’ve received tremendous support from the public outreach," he said. "They’re all shocked and surprised."

On The Web:   http://www.sunherald.com/2014/03/17/5422061/sons-of-confederate-veterans-respond.html