Contraband Days Festival Controversy

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The 2012 Contraband Days Festival is set to get underway, but not without controversy. Some locals feel it's not only offensive but tied to slavery because the real pirate behind the legend, Jean Lafitte, is believed to have had slaves.

"We've been fighting this battle for 55 years. It's been a long bitter battle," said Rosie Glapion. "Because as we look out over these waters everybody sees something different - but what we see is a time in history they don't see. So we see and we feel the souls of our ancestors over these waters calling us here to do this. We are answering their call to not sit idle."

Glapion along with the Louisiana chapter of the National Action Network is protesting the festival and demanding the festival's name and theme be changed.

"We will not tolerate that Contraband deal because it deals with slavery," said George Fisher, National Action Network LA Chapter President.

"We don't need to be reminded about slavery every year. I think it is multi-racial - that there are whites just as well as blacks that feel the same way. And we are asking the Buccaneer Club, Mayor Randy Roach - to cease and assist or we are gong to have to help them make up their mind. We are trying to help them do it peacefully but will do it by any means necessary," said Ron Ceasar, with P.O.W.E.R.

With Contraband Days starting in one week, the National Action Network said they will not only protest the festival but any business that supports it.

"You may see a great surprise within the next two weeks of myself calling the whole state of Louisiana to be here in Lake Charles, Louisiana. And I'm hoping when that happens - I'm hoping the mayor doesn't jump off the plank, doesn't hand over the key to the city this year because if he does we may have a statewide march in the city of Lake Charles.

Glapion hopes it won't come to that but the group said they are prepared to do what they feel they have to do.

"I hope there can be some meeting of the minds and some kind of... Please feel our pain," said Glapion.

KPLC contacted Contraband Days Festival officials. They said they welcome the group to come to one of their board meetings after the festival to have an "open discussion."

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