Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Louisiana IV

This visit to Iberville came about in a somewhat convoluted manner. On visits to western Colorado and Alabama, I had seen the sculpture of Richard Arnold. I really liked his work so I looked up his studio in Telluride and gave him a call. He could not have been nicer or more willing to share his knowledge and ideas with me. We talked awhile about his work in the two states and he happened to ask if I was aware of a more recent one in Louisiana? I told him that I had already been to Louisiana but that I would really like to see this memorial some time. It was not until very recently that I actually made it back to LA.

He went on to explain that he was asked to create, among others, a statue of an African American man for the memorial in Iberville. He went to visit what was already there and saw a man reading some of the text found at the site. He engaged him in conversation and, eventually, got his permission to photograph him and create the statue based upon his likeness. The stranger became more at ease when he learned that Mr. Arnold, like himself, had served in 'Nam.

Some time later, at the dedication of the 5 new statues (Nov. '10), Mr. Arnold saw the same man. He was standing near the statue that was clearly him and he was weeping! Mr. Arnold asked what was the matter? The man said, "I didn't know it was going to be me!" Mr. Arnold told him that after meeting him and hearing his story, he felt, "It had to be you."

The man composed himself as they talked and Mr. Arnold realized that there was a line of many people waiting to speak to him. He looked at his companion and asked what this was about? The man said "You really don't get it, do you?" and then, "There has never been a statue of a black man in this part of Louisiana before and all of these folks want to thank you and shake your hand."

This beautiful and historic site is located at the intersection of Railroad Ave. and Court Street in Iberville. It has a number of other of Mr. Arnold's works including a mother and child, an older man, a WWII vet I think, and a current serviceman. This site was made even more poignant to me as we walked around and discovered that the nearest statue to this site was of a Confederate soldier in front of the Court House adjacent to this site. It just seemed fitting that a black man had joined those being honored for their service.

You can see more of Richard Arnold's work here;


And, in my posts about Alabama and Colorado's Western Slope Memorial on this site. Just click either state on the left side of this page and scroll around until you find them.

Next stop? A memorial just outside the New Orleans airport. Join me there on the 1st at 9:00 AM


  1. What a wonderful touching story.

    This journey of yours is endlessly touching.


  2. Tammy is so right. I already knew this story, and it still made me cry!

  3. I have been thinking about this site with Plaquemines(sp) Parish being in the news so much this week due to the direct hit from the hurricane. I think I will contact the Richard and see if he has heard anything.