Name changing of future Lake Charles road sparks debate - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Name changing of future Lake Charles road sparks debate

(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC) (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A proposed roadway that will run to the north side of the Target shopping center and connect the Holly Hill roundabout on West Prien Lake Road with Nelson Road will have a new name-Contraband Parkway.

City council approved the name change but not without some vigorous debate. 

"When I look up the word 'contraband,' it's goods that have been imported or exported illegally, and that's what contraband means. And then when I think about a culture of people as African Americans, we were the contraband at one time," said councilwoman Mary Morris. 

One resident also stood up and voiced his opinion against the name. 

"This is a prime example of when we can take and show what white supremacy is," said the resident. "When they can dominate over other races by doing something like this."

But officials say the name wasn't chosen to be offensive, but instead because of the location. 

"It was purely because of Contraband Bayou, and the property borders 4,000 feet," said Mary Kay Hopkins, who represents Block 18 of Barbe Property. 

And council member Luvertha August agreed.

"This area for years has been known as Contraband Bayou," said August. "I mean, why not name the road or the street after what originally is out there." 

But in the end the vote came down six to one, approving the name and leaving some happy and some upset with the final decision. 

"(You) could have named it after a U.S. veteran, or like I said, some civic-minded community or citizen that worked all his life in the community, or even an elected official, but for y'all to sit here and say that's naïve because it's Contraband Bayou...man," said the resident. 

The proposed roadway is being constructed by the Louisiana Department of Transportation. According to DOTD the road is estimated to be completed by Spring 2019.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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