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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.