Hurricane Laura’s strong winds in Louisiana tore through roofs, shattered windows, and forced thousands of people to seek shelter.
The hurricane also toppled a controversial Confederate monument in the heart of downtown Lake Charles.
Just two weeks ago, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury voted 10-4 to keep the South’s Defenders Monument in place in front of the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse.
But hurricane Laura had sustained winds of 150 mph removed the 105-year-old statue off its base.
Bryan Beam is a parish administrator for the Police Jury. He slept through Laura’s eyewall before the hurricane made landfall.
When Beam stepped outside his building the morning after the storm, he was greeted by the toppled South’s Defenders Monument, his son, Andrew said in a CNN report.
“It’s gotten a lot of controversy lately because the Police Jury here voted not to remove it for historical reasons,” Andrew said.
Controversial monuments, mainly Confederate monuments, have been the subject of nationwide debate after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.
Last June, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter expressed his thoughts about the statue’s future.
“In the year 2020, a courthouse lawn is not the place for this monument,” Hunter said in a Facebook post.
“The statue should not be destroyed or erased,” he said. “It should be relocated with thoughtfulness and modern context, and while I do not have the answer for where it should be relocated to, I am willing to be a part of a constructive conversation about this and how to move forward together.”