- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2002

Officials of the Confederate Museum in New Orleans vow they will not vacate the building they've called home for nearly 112 years until all legal appeals are exhausted.
Last week they got a setback: A judge ruled they do not own the historic red brick structure at 929 Camp St., which houses thousands of Civil War artifacts, most of them donated by the Confederate veterans who used them, or their families.
"Unfortunately, [New Orleans Civil District] Judge C. Hunter King ruled for the other side. So we are appealing to the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals," said James Carriere, vice president of Memorial Hall Museum Inc.,which runs the Confederate Museum and owns its collection.
Dr. Glen Cangelosi, a physician who is a member of the museum's board of directors, said the battle will "go all the way to the Louisiana State Supreme Court" if necessary.
"We won't leave voluntarily," he said, adding that the museum boasts the second-largest collection of Confederate artifacts in the world after the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.
The museum's legal adversary is a philanthropic organization known as the University of New Orleans Foundation, which plans to open the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in two buildings in the immediate area of the Civil War museum. The new museum will be a collection of 120,000 artworks by Southern artists from all periods.
The problem: The old museum sits right smack in the middle of the two Ogden buildings.
There have been numerous newspaper accounts, including one written in July 2001 in The Washington Times, saying the foundation wants to evict the Confederate Museum. Its memorabilia includes a battle flag stained with a Rebel commander's blood, Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard's frock coat and a crown of thorns that Pope Pius IX gave to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
In an interview Thursday, Elizabeth M. Williams, president of the UNO Foundation, commended Judge King's decision. But she quickly added: "We have never said we'll evict them. I've constantly said we have to talk to them. We were in a property dispute over a title. It had nothing to do with the building's contents."
Mr. Carriere confirmed that the foundation has never used the word "evict" but said the group has a problem with the museum's name specifically with "the word Confederate."
The foundation has suggested that the museum seek another location, he said, and that the foundation objects to "the military artifacts and to the organizations that meet there."
Mr. Carriere said foundation officials have made it very clear they approve of Civil War art in the museum's exhibit but not guns and other weapons. He said the museum has tried to strike compromises with the foundation, but the would-be deals always broke down.
Patricia Ricci, curator of the Confederate Museum, charged yesterday that the foundation "feels we're outdated, Victorian, antiquated and unwanted."
Dr. Cangelosi put it this way: "Maybe they don't think we're politically correct." News accounts of the dispute have repeatedly noted that the population of New Orleans is 70 percent black.
But Miss Williams said the UNO Foundation does not view the museum's military collection in a negative light. "We think all of the Confederate Museum collection is a wonderful collection that needs to be preserved," she said.
In interviews Thursday, both Mr. Carriere and Dr. Cangelosi said the museum cannot file an appeal of Judge King's ruling until the judge sets bond.
The UNO Foundation says it bought the museum's building in December 2000 for $425,000 from a group called the Howard Memorial Library Association, original owner of an old library building next to the Confederate Museum.
The Confederate Museum sued the UNO Foundation, saying the building could not be sold without its approval, because it was donated by Frank T. Howard, a wealthy businessman, in 1891 to be used "perpetually" as a Confederate museum.


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