Our Louisiana Legislature could act in a way that will guarantee the preservation of Louisiana’s cultural and historical landscape. It can do this by having the courage to approve the proposed constitutional amendment and/or one of the two bills that will safeguard our state’s diverse heritage. North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina have such laws. Without guaranteed protection from the state of Louisiana, short-term elected officials in any parish or municipality will continue to have the ability to dismantle Louisiana’s cultural memory. The first day of business for the Legislature is when submitted bills are referred to the appropriate committees for debate and consideration. As specified on its website, the Louisiana Senate determined that its Education Committee shall have the responsibility to review all bills dealing with the “Preservation of Historic Landmarks and Objects.” While Louisiana’s historical landmarks and objects connect all living citizens of Louisiana, the state also has the obligation of a trustee to protect our heritage for the generations of Louisianans not yet born. Last year, a similar Senate historic preservation bill was not assigned to the Educational Committee and it died. It is time for the politics of old to fade away. After all, it is the Louisiana Legislature and not the New Orleans Legislature. The Senate should abide by its own published procedures and send proposed Senate bill, SB198, “Historic Preservation” to its Education Committee.
Richard A. Marksbury