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Nature

Residents fought over a Confederate statue for months. Hurricane Laura made the final decision.

Residents fought over a Confederate statue for months. Hurricane Laura made the final decision.
via Travis Akers / Twitter

The South's Defenders monument in Downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana has been a bone of contention for locals. The statue was first erected in 1915 to recognize local residents and those throughout the south who fought for the Confederacy.

After George Floyd was murdered in March, there were renewed calls to remove the statue. His death inspired many to reconsider Confederate monuments and at least 59 have been removed in recent months.

"The people of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish once again voice their desire to destroy the statue and remove the memory of slavery from its literal and figurative pedestal within the community," a Change.org campaign calling for its removal read.


A special city council meeting was called in July to decide the statue's fate. Before the meeting, parish administrator Bryan Beam said he'd received 945 written responses from the community and 878 were against its removal and just 67 were in favor.

John Guidroz / Twitter

It's hard to understand why anyone would want a statue honoring a pro-slavery movement that attempted to destroy the United States of America. But the council sided with them, voting 10 to 5 to keep the statue up.

The decision didn't stop local residents' calls to tear it down.

"We're beginning a series of events predicated on making sure the monument comes down or making sure that we create as much noise until it comes down," Darius Clayton told the AP. "If they think we are done, they are sorely mistaken."

After the decision, protesters launched a boycott of businesses with ties to the council's board members.

On Thursday morning, it appears as though an act of God made the final decision on the statue. Hurricane Laura touched down at 1 am, bringing 130-mile-per hour gusts of wind – some of the strongest the region has ever seen.

The hurricane knocked down the monument at the soldier's ankles, toppling it to the ground.

The soldier now lies atop the monuments granite steps, motionless, much like his fallen brethren during the war the claimed so many American lives.

via The Advocate / Twitter

"Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish has been filled with controversy and tension after our parish government by a vote of 10-5 refused to take down the Confederate South's Defenders Monument," Davante Lewis, director of public affairs at The Louisiana Budget Project, said on Twitter.

"Hurricane Laura had other plans and brought it down herself."

"My dad sent me some pics of the South's Defenders monument in Downtown Lake Charles post-Laura and... I think some people may be happy about this," Twitter user Andrew Beam said.

There's no word on whether the statue will be fixed and put back on its pedestal. But let's hope the residents and city council of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish see the significance of the statue's toppling and leave it, as well as the rest of what the Confederacy stood for, in the past.

Plus, in the aftermath of a hurricane, the town should focus on efforts to rebuild the entire community instead of ripping it apart.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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