Trouble at the Beauvoir

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Updated: 3/17/2014 9:57 pm
In July 2012, the great-great grandson of Confederate President Jefferson Davis moved to the Coast to oversee the Beauvoir property where the President's family once lived. Bertram Hayes-Davis has created a series of seasonal events designed to bring in money to sustain the financially burdened property. Although the members of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans Mississippi Division, who make up the board, disagree. Hayes-Davis says, "The first Christmas a Beauvoir, it was a great team effort, and it’s important that we continue that outside support and those ideas to come to the property and make it better. I think the current board membership, doesn't really want that outside influence to change the property. They're afraid of losing something." According to Andi Oustalet, that something is the confederate flag hanging off the front porch of the house. The chairwoman for Christmas at Beauvoir says she tried to explain to the board that the flag created unwanted controversy that would turn away donors and sponsors.

Oustalet says, "As long as the flag is flying with the seven flags and it has historical value, I have no problem with that historical part of it. I do have a problem when they put the giant one that covers the quarter of the mansion on the front of it just to make a statement." Hayes-Davis stepped down earlier this month as Executive Director, and Oustalet was let go soon after. Both believe the financial future of the Beauvoir property is now up in the air. Hayes-Davis also says, "Any other institution, museum, or library in this country, and especially on the Gulf Coast now, the attendance will not be sufficient to make it financially viable, so the events that we were doing we’re trying to instill more financial integrity to the organization." Oustalet also says, "I have probably a difficult road this year, to just maintain the lights that are there now, raise the funds it’s gonna’ take to fix the lights that get damaged over the seasons and then add to it to make it a third year really good event." Beauvoir may be facing even more money troubles ahead. Oustalet says her phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from concerned donors who want their money back if Christmas at Beauvoir is not run by her. Hayes-Davis also says, "The fact that we're not there anymore, leads to people saying, ‘Why would I want to be there if you’re not even welcome?’"

News 25 reached out to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for a comment, but received no answer. Hayes-Davis and Oustalet say even though they are no longer with the Beauvoir, they still hope to see it succeed.
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