Sunday, April 24, 2016

Take a Trip to the Keachie Confederate Cemetery Memorial Service 2016

Located on LA172 just west of the main drag in Keachie is a quiet little spot where Confederate dead rest under the pines. Many of the dead are unknown.

 Keachie is a tiny town in DeSoto parish and is filled with beautiful old houses crumbling from neglect and decay. Towering, wood frame Victorian homes with wide galleries, tall windows, and exquisite architectural embellishments are slowly giving way to time. The cost to restore them must be staggering.

 Of seemingly more historic importance is the Keachie Women’s College on LA172 located across the road from the Confederate cemetery. Opened in 1856, the college was apparently quite an impressive structure:
A visitor to the College in 1890 would have been considerable impressed by the appearance of the physical plant which dominated the village of Keatchie. The main building was a large frame two-story structure with cupola over the principal entrance. This housed an assembly hall, or chapel, study hall, recitation rooms, music rooms and dining hall. A large galleried wing which extended to the eastward, provided "30 dormitories each 16 feet square." Across the street was another sizeable tow [sic]-story building, providing living quarters for men and boys. But then the country went to war and in April 1864 was the Battle of Mansfield and nearby Pleasant Hill. 
The Keachie Women’s College was pressed into service as a hospital and morgue; patients who did not survive were buried across the road in what is now the Confederate Cemetery.

Here is come very cool drone footage of the building shot in February 2016:

 The Confederate Cemetery is now cared for by the Sons of the Confederacy and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. There are many graves there, most marked “unknown.” It’s a very moving sight.

 This past weekend, the SCV and UDC groups met at the cemetery to remember the dead, to honor their sacrifice, and to place wreaths.

 The UDC bestowed two military medals on Confederate descendants who have served their country in military service. The cemetery is located right next to another cemetery, and buried there are families of some of those Confederate soldiers.

 The Sons of Confederate Veterans brought their cannon and put on a very moving reenactment for the guests.

Complete with rifle fire:

 After it was all over, there was cake, cookies, and lemonade to be enjoyed, much visiting, catching up with old friends, and making new ones.

 Our country is torn apart right now as groups argue about symbolism and monuments. Those men resting in graves under the hardwoods and pines in Keachie don’t much care about that. In truth, both black and white veterans are buried there and certainly they deserve to rest in peace and have their sacrifice to their cause remembered. I’m glad to have been there and to have learned a little more about the fascinating history in Kisachie, Louisiana.

There's a history of Keachie College here.

Learn more about the Confederate Memorial Cemetery here.

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Louisiana is now Taxing Pretty Much Everything

As of April 1, appropriately, Louisiana now has the highest sales tax in the nation.  We now pay five-cents on the dollar in state sales tax. Add that to your parish and city taxes and in some places you're paying 10.5% in tax on your purchase.

Buried in the twenty-five pages of revisions to the sales tax statutes you will find an astounding array of new and increased taxes.

In addition to the penny added to the state sales tax, getting the most press are the usual sin taxes: alcohol and cigarettes. The tax on cigarettes went up twenty-two cents for a new total of $1.08 tax per pack.  Taxes on beer, wine, and liquor are also up.

Our legislators have found ways to tax just about everything this time around though, and reading through the twenty-five pages of revisions is enlightening.  For example, we are now taxing Mardi Gras beads at five-percent; the purchases by krewes for those Mardi Gras throws had been previously exempt but no more.

We are also now taxing athletic events at schools now.  The old statute:

(b)(i) The sale of admissions to places of amusement, to athletic entertainment other than that of schools, colleges, and universities, and recreational events, and the furnishing, for dues, fees, or other consideration of the privilege of access to clubs or the privilege of having access to or the use of amusement, entertainment, athletic, or recreational facilities; but the term "sales of services" shall not include membership fees or dues of nonprofit, civic organizations, including by way of illustration and not of limitation the Young Men's Christian Association, the Catholic Youth Organization, and the Young Women's Christian Association.

But that statute is now revised to include taxes on admission charges to athletic events of schools, colleges, and universities (see page nine). That tax will start out at 5% and run until June 30, 2016 and then will drop to 3% for the next two years, and supposedly will expire in July 2018.  This is a terrible thing for public schools who quite often barely support their athletic programs at all. We all know that schools are always involved in one fund-raiser after another to support these programs. Car washes, candy sales, gift-wrap fundraisers, cookie dough goes on and on.

Where will the extra manpower come from in collecting and accounting for these taxes at the school level?  The ripple effect of this one is disheartening.

Also now taxable at a rate of 5% are your membership fees and dues to civic organizations like the American Legion, YMCA, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, local historical societies, etc.  That one is going to hit me on several fronts.

There's a new 5% tax on admission to art museums and science museums.

That non-profit camp you were going to this summer?  Now taxed at five-percent -- unless you go in July and then it's 3%.

Eyeglasses, prosthetic devices, contact lenses, and wheelchairs will be taxed at 5% as will your purchase of a dialysis machine.

Ticket sales by non-profits?  Five-percent.  So, that American Legion Style Show fundraiser?  You'll be paying taxes on that ticket.

Do you shop at the thrift shop at Barksdale or other military installation?  There's a new 5% tax on your purchase.

And you've got to wonder what they're thinking here: "Sales by blind persons who operate certain small businesses."  Five-percent.

Tickets to dance, drama or performing arts performance sponsored by domestic nonprofit organizations: Five percent.

And if you purchase a of one-of-a-kind work of art from an established location within a cultural products district, there's now a 5% tax.

But hey, it's not all bad. If you own a racehorse in a claiming race, you don't have to pay tax!

And you don't have to pay taxes on your food stamp purchases.

And you don't have to pay tax on your crawfish bait.

Most of these taxes decrease in July back down to 3% and the finally expire again in two years, but it is safe to say that Louisiana lawmakers have figured out how to tax just about everything.

Not only that, but because of the new tax on internet sales, Amazon Associates has ended its program in Louisiana. Those links to books or merchandise that used to be in my sidebar and at the end of some posts? Gone with the wind. I no longer earn revenue from those.

The debate on how we got to this situation is another story - there is plenty of blame to go around and it's certain that Bobby Jindal's shell game bookkeeping didn't help us, but neither political party is without blame.  One would hope however that Governor Edwards would consider top level pay cuts or suspension of his own pay, perhaps, rather than the salary increases he doled out upon his election. Instead we are putting the burden on the backs of those that can least afford it.