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Yes, Hurricane Laura Really Did Tear Down A Confederate Monument

Calcasieu Parish voted to keep the South's Defenders monument in August. Nature disagreed.

Posted on August 27, 2020, at 1:54 p.m. ET

High surf from Hurricane Laura covers a jetty in Galveston, Texas
Ellie Cherryhomes / Getty Images

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, the fate of a Confederate monument was decided by nature.

Hurricane Laura destroyed the South's Defenders monument, which stood on the grounds of a courthouse in Lake Charles.

This summer, amid a national reckoning on Confederate monuments, protesters called for the statue to be moved to a museum, a point of view shared by Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. The statue was dedicated in 1915, part of a wave of monuments honoring the Confederacy during the Jim Crow era.

"When we think about this Confederate monument, it literally symbolizes white supremacy and enslaved African Americans,” Cary Chavis, who started one of three petitions to remove the statue, told local TV station KPLC in June. “So we have this monument out in front of our courthouse, which is to be a place where people can see justice and fairness and we have a monument that represents slavery in front of it, and that's not something we should ever support."

But on Aug. 13, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury voted to keep the statue, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported.

On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura reversed that decision.

News of the statue’s destruction spread quickly online, much to the joy of people supporting the removal of the monument.

“The Confederate general has fallen,” tweeted Davante Lewis, a director at Louisiana Budget Project, a watchdog organization.

“One might say it's God's Will,” local lawyer Donald Carl Hodge Jr. said on Facebook.

“Really scary images coming out of Louisiana after Laura. But this - where the hurricane took down a confederate statue that elected officials wouldn't - this is almost enough to make you believe in the arc of the moral universe,” tweeted Johns Hopkins assistant professor Christy Thornton.

Hurricane Laura is a Category 4 storm that began tearing through the Gulf Coast overnight, and observers fear it could spell an environmental disaster because of the over 60 refineries and petrochemical plants present in the region.

The hurricane didn’t spare the rest of Lake Charles. The city was hit hard this morning and a chemical fire erupted on the outskirts.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.