The name of the newly opened bridge between St. Francisville and New Roads will remain named after John James Audubon rather than two U.S. Marine Corps generals.
The House accepted changes made by the state Senate on a vote 80 to 11.
State Rep. Tom McVea, R-St. Francisville, pushed House Bill 200 that would name the bridge after John A. Lejeune and Robert H. Barrow. McVea said he wanted to honor two of the nation’s most-decorated soldiers who happened to grow up on either side of the $409 million bridge.
But the state Senate amended the legislation to name the parkway approaches after the generals and require monuments to be erected to their memories, but to leave the bridge after Audubon.
McVea said it was too late in the process to effectively challenge the Senate changes. He said it would be a fight for next year.
Gen. John A. Lejeune was born and raised in Pointe Coupee Parish. He attended LSU. He fought in France during World War I and served two tours as the head of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1920s. His statue is at the Louisiana War Memorial, next to the USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge.
Gen. Robert H. Barrow grew up in West Feliciana Parish. He attended LSU and fought in China during World War II, and in Korea and Vietnam during those conflicts. He was the first Marine Corps commandant to serve, by law, as a full member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission, which handles some responsibilities for a 210-mile roadway that crosses the Mississippi River on the bridge, opposed the name change, saying $300,000 already has been spent on Audubon-related logos, websites and other items. The commission recommended naming the approaches after the Marine generals.