Jefferson Davis Home Rebuild Draws Criticism

Ana Radelat, Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), April 25, 2006

WASHINGTON—The former home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, should be rebuilt as quickly as possible, say many Civil War buffs as well as officials at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

But civil rights groups and at least one congressional budget hawk decry congressional plans to provide money for rebuilding Beauvoir, the majestic house in Biloxi built in the 1850s that served as Davis’ retirement home after the Civil War. Damage to the home amounts to at least an estimated $25 million.

“We adamantly oppose the restoration of Beauvoir,” said Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “It is one of the most divisive symbols in this state and in this state’s history.”

The federal government has no responsibility to rebuild historic sites damaged by a natural disaster.

But at the behest of the National Trust and other historic preservation organizations, Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran has included $80 million to restore storm-battered historic property in a $27 billion emergency hurricane package the Senate plans to debate this week.

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