Beauvoir director, board members resign over ‘direction’
Published: March 17,2014
Tags: Beauvoir, Bertram Hayes-Davis, Confederacy, Confederate States of America, cultural tourism, culture, Don Barrett, Ed Funchess, Heritage, history, Jefferson Davis, Sons of Confederate Veterans, tourism, tourist, Varina's Garden, visitor
BILOXI — The executive director Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, and two members of the historic property’s board have resigned.
Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-great-grandson of the president of the Confederacy, said there was a disagreement on the direction of the property between his team and the Beauvoir board. Hayes-Davis resigned effective March 3.
Hayes-Davis and his wife, Carol, came to work at Beauvoir in July 2012. She volunteered as the head of programs and events at Beauvoir.
He oversaw the opening of the library and the completion of Varina’s Garden, which recreates the garden of Davis’ wife.
Beauvoir is the hip-roofed, Gulf-front mansion where Jefferson Davis spent the last 12 years of his life. Varina Davis left Beauvoir in 1891.
Beauvoir was nearly swept away by Katrina in 2005. Millions have been spent on its restoration.
Hayes-Davis told WLOX-TV in Biloxi he wanted Beauvoir to “be the one place you come in the country to learn about Jefferson Davis.” He now believes the board had a different vision.
“It didn’t seem to be something that they aspire to embrace,” said Davis.
Board members Ed Funchess and Don Barrett resigned during a meeting in February.
“It’s a philosophical issue and it’s a serious one,” said Funchess, the board’s former vice chairman and treasurer.
Funchess told The Sun Herald that his difference is with the chairman of the board, Richard Forte, and the conflict is primarily over the financial future of Beauvoir.
Forte could not be reached for comment.
Beauvoir is owned by Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Varina Davis put in her will that if the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans can’t maintain Beauvoir, it will be transferred to the state to operate.
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