A Gulfport City Councilman is proposing to find a new home on the Coast for some soon-to-be removed Confederate monuments.
Ward 2 Councilman Ricky Dombrowski is asking his fellow Council members to support his idea to bring four confederate monuments from New Orleans to the grounds of Beauvoir.
The monuments have been a source of contention since the New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 in December to have the monuments removed from public property. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled against a lawsuit by Louisiana historical groups asking that the monuments not be removed.
The monuments of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G. T. Beauregard and the Battle of Liberty Place will be placed in storage upon their removal.
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But Dombroski hopes he can change that.
"Shoot, if they are just going to put them in storage, let's bring them over here to Mississippi and put them in Jefferson Davis' home -- Beauvoir," he said. "I've had a lot of good feedback on it."
When asked why he chose to get involved with the project, Dombrowski said he believes it would be good for Coast tourism.
"My reason for doing this is because when I heard they were going to pu those monuments in storage, I thought, 'What a waste.'" he said. "I thought we have the perfect facility for them on the Coast. The Beauvior is a private place and the monuments could add to what they do."
A Tuesday resolution
Dombroski said he will present a resolution to the Gulfport Council on Tuesday as the next step in seeing his idea come to fruition.
"I've gotten with almost all of my Council members and there haven't been any of them that are opposed to the idea," he said.
Ward 1 Councilman Truck Casey said he has not had any discussion with Dombroski about the monuments.
"No sir, this has not been discussed with me," he said.
Casey said is still seeking feedback from the people in his ward on Dombrowski's proposal.
"I haven't heard much from my constituents," Casey said. "We have our own Confederate monuments in Mississippi, so I don't know about these monuments from Louisiana. We need to address it with my constituents before Tuesday, and I look forward to discussing it my colleagues."
Should the resolution pass the Gulfport Council, Dombrowski said his next move is to get support from the Biloxi City Council and the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.
"I've talked to a few of the Biloxi Council members and some of the supervisors," he said. "So far, the feedback has all been positive."
He said he has not made any contact with the New Orleans mayor and Council.
Dombrowski said he doesn't know how much it would cost the transport the monuments to Biloxi, but he said public money would not be used for the relocation.
"I have had calls from several volunteers offering their services to help move the monuments, and I've had some calls from people offering to help with the financing," he said. "It's not like the city government would be paying for it, it would be private entities paying for it. I've had calls from a storage company that has the big semi trucks and stuff like that."
Beauvoir on board
Beauvoir Executive Director Greg Stewart said Dombrowski came to him with the idea of moving the monuments to the historical landmark's property.
"I don't think it would be bad for the home," Stewart said. "We have 52 acres, and it would immediately draw New Orleans people, but it's a long, long shot. It probably won't happen."
Stewart said the notion of moving the monuments would make a strong statement.
"It would," he said, "embarrass all of the monument haters. 'Hey, if you have something you don't want then give it to us.'"
As far as where the statues would possibly be placed, Stewart said he hasn't devised a plan.
"I don't really have strong opinions about it, but you can bet some people do," Stewart said. "I think it would make sense to place the Jefferson Davis statue by the house. But you want people to be able to see them and draw them in."
Stewart said he believes the monuments would help with ticket sales.
"I think it would be something people would want to see," he said. "We had animals here and that was popular, and they are gone. We're having a skiff that was owned by Winnie Davis that was damaged during Katrina being restored in Pensacola. That is something else people will want to see."
Should the monuments come to Beauvoir, Stewart said it would probably be temporary.
"My proposal is that we house the monuments for a while until everyone gets over their 'PC sensibility' and then they would go back to New Orleans," he said.