Someone pushed over and shattered the four-foot monument, valued at more than $1,000. The piece stood near the entrance to the city’s Parks and Recreation office.
As for replacing the tribute, Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza said the issue is being given a look.
“We are replacing some of the concrete benches at Godchaux Park,” Piazza said. “So we might just ask about the price of a new monument.”
The city itself did not initially place the marker. Tommy Picard and A.A. Comeaux Youth organization did so when the group operated the park. The city took over with a newly established Parks and Recreation Department in 2010.
“We need to see how we are going to go about replacing it,” Piazza said.
That includes not replacing the monument in its former location.
“Some of the shrubbery in the back of the grave was damaged when a car ran over it a few months ago,” Piazza said. “A car went off the road and messed up some of the big shrubbery. So we are going to pull all of that out. We have talked about putting some new landscaping there and sprucing up that area around the grave. We may just put the monument there by the grave instead of by the front door of the office.
“Placing the monument by the grave with some new landscaping is probably what’s going to happen.”
Piazza said whatever is done will be as close as possible to the request of Comeaux himself, the man who donated the land to Abbeville to create the park.
“We have been talking about the grave site,” Piazza said. “He was very specific in the will that he did not want anything elaborate. He just wanted a modest grave with his name on the building.”
Along with the damaged monument, the city also dealt with property stolen from the Parks and Recreation office. A week before the damage to the monument occurred, someone broke into the building and stole a 52-inch flat screen TV from the office. That came on the heels of a break-in the previous weekend that included a stolen computer and damage to locked desk drawers.
Those issues have prompted the city to beef up its security options at the park.
“We have ordered some surveillance cameras that will be installed both inside and outside the building,” Piazza said. “We have also strengthened the structures that are supporting the windows.”
The break-ins are certainly frustrating for the city. The damage to the monument leaves Piazza confused.
“Vandalism like that is really just childish,” Piazza said. “Why desecrate a monument like that for no reason?
“Breaking in there to steal a TV is one thing, but to smash up a monument that was dedicated to such an important individual in Abbeville history is really discouraging.”