Clementine Hunter statue proposed

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Sierra Pesnell | Times Intern

The City Council meeting Monday, May 24 introduced a potential repair project to the roads and a resolution for a statue of folk artist Clementine Hunter.  Natchitoches City Engineer Nick Verret proposed a street improvement project. He presented data on which roads need rehabilitation and what material would be best to use.

Verret said the purpose of his research and selection process was to reduce subjectivity in an attempt to best utilize the allocated funds for the project. He included an evaluation of the pavement condition, an idea of the work required and understanding of the costs to determine which streets would be best candidates for the project.

Verret said the proposed project for fiscal year 2021-22 has Sadia Street, St. Clair Avenue, Peninsula Drive, Breda, Mayfield and Lake Streets and Simmons Alley as requiring the most amount of funding. The presentation demonstrated the disadvantages of using asphalt by utilizing a graph showing its deteriorating effects over time. Verret said there are different types of distress caused to roads including structural and non-structural.

The damage caused on St. Clair Avenue is an example of structural distress. It’s condition is a result of failure in the base of the asphalt resulting in potholes and alligator cracking.  The process in picking streets to repair is organized by a system that will address the worst streets first that have the most traffic.  The streets are divided into tiers with tier one being the worst and tier four requiring the least amount of repair.

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) has created a resolution to have a statue of Clementine Hunter constructed downtown.  Hunter, a late folk artist, is notorious for her artwork depicting plantation life. She lived the majority of her life at Melrose Plantation.  The statue would be placed at the north end of Front Street or on the riverbank by the Roque House.

Councilman Eddie Harrington read the resolution citing Hunter as occupying a unique position in American art because of her style.  “I think this is long overdue,” Harrington said.

APHN President Vicki Parrish said the statue is in the beginning stages, requiring approval from the City Council to continue with the project. Parrish said Hunter is remembered by many people in different ways and hopes the potential statue will be a monument that brings people to Natchitoches.  “We need to honor her, we really do,” Parrish said.