A graveyard for governors at the capitol may happen

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It started as an idea one year ago during a routine morning stroll around the capitol. Now, state Rep. Michael Echols, a Republican from Monroe, has decided to go through with it.

“I had already begun working on this bill with some staff, asking about statutes that were currently in place for that area as a home for former governors, and they said there wasn’t a law on the books to allow that,” said Echols.

Putting pen to paper, he decided to begin drafting a bill that would make such a law. Part of his inspiration is to preserve the memory of some of those governors in our history that not everyone is too fond of, instead of seeing their chapter in history completely erased.

“There’s been a movement in the past to tear down statues and tear down history. This is really to respect the past, respect the history, and respect the service. No matter how good, bad, or indifferent the characters may be to have served in that role,” Echols explained.

Rep. Echol’s believes this piece of legislation could attract lawmakers from both sides. Democrat state Rep. Patrick Jefferson thinks it’s an idea he can get behind.

“I think that would be a good approach and a good tribute to the individuals who served in that capacity,” said Jefferson.

Although he’s a fan of the idea, Rep. Jefferson would want to make sure the governor’s spouses would be included in the bill as well.

“If a person is elected governor, you rest assure that spouse also does a great deal for the great state of Louisiana,” Jefferson continued.

The idea gained momentum when the widow of the late Governor Edwin Edwards recently said he once told her that he would like to be buried on the capitol grounds just like Long. The current Governor Edwards chimed in on the conversation today saying he’s, “looking forward to reviewing the legislation once it’s drafted and finalize”.

Now what needs to happen is a finalized draft of the bill needs to be submitted for the upcoming legislative session and make its way through both chambers of the legislature before it lands the governor’s desk. The next session begins March 14, 2022.

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