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Resident Jerry Newgebaver takes one last photo of the Gen. Alfred Mouton Statue on Thursday, July 2, 2020 in Lafayette, La.. Mayor-President Josh Guillory as asked the city-parish attorneys to take action to remove the statue from city property.

The Lafayette Parish courthouse is closed Monday, forcing another delay in a hearing to remove the Confederal Gen. Alfred Mouton statue from city property.

Marilyn Castle, chief judge of the 15th Judicial District Court, issued an emergency order over the weekend closing the courthouses in Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes Monday in the wake of Hurricane Delta, which made landfall Friday in Cameron Parish and left wind damage and power outages in all three 15th Judicial District parishes.

City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan confirmed Sunday that the hearing scheduled before Judge David Smith on Monday is postponed. A hearing on the statue's removal was postponed in August because Smith was ill.

Mouton was the son of the state's 9th governor. He was born in Opelousas, attended the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and later returned to Lafayette where he became a landowner and slaveholder, and supported the parish's laws limiting the assembly of blacks and their ability to move around.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy Alfred Mouton chapter donated the statue to the city in 1922 during the Jim Crow era of Black suppression. The statue was erected on city property at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Lee Avenue at an entrance to downtown Lafayette. The city pays to maintain the statue and surrounding property.

When the city wanted to move the statue to the new city hall on University Avenue in 1980, the United Daughters took the city to court, despite admitting in minutes from a committee meeting that the group had no standing in the matter.

A settlement was reached in which the city agreed not to move the statue unless necessary for road work. The court granted a permanent injunction stopping removal of the statue.

After years of pressure by some to remove the statue of the slave-owning Confederate general who was fatally wounded in battle, the City-Parish Council in 2016 considered the issue again but the united Daughters threatened a lawsuit and the matter was dropped.

In 2019, residents again rallied to remove the statue, forming the group Move the Mindset which pushed the matter. In 2019, 16 residents, including Fred Prejean and Move the Mindset sued to intervene in the 1980 United Daughters' lawsuit and earlier this year, the city also joined the movement to remove the statue.

Other closings

Some Acadiana public school districts are opting to remain closed early next week as districts assess damage after Hurricane Delta.

The Lafayette Parish School System will remain closed Monday and district administrators will provide an update Monday afternoon if closures will extend longer. District spokesperson Allison Dickerson said in a Saturday text message some schools are still without power and staff members need electricity to conduct full safety and damage assessments of the schools.

Vermilion Parish public schools will be closed for at least Monday and Tuesday after a district survey revealed “extensive damage” at some schools including broken windows, power outages, destroyed awnings and ample debris on campuses, Superintendent Tommy Byler said in a Facebook video address Saturday evening.

Most Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lafayette will remain closed Monday. A number of schools have decided to stay closed Tuesday, as well. A list can be found at diolaf.org.

South Louisiana Community College announced its campuses will be closed Monday because of power outages.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's campus will be open.

Acadiana Business Today: Despite widespread damage and outages, a sigh of relief that Delta wasn't worse in Acadiana


Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.