Hicks home receives restoration grant

Published 9:12 am Friday, October 16, 2015

State government representatives visited Bogalusa on Tuesday, to tour the historic home of Bogalusa civil rights leader Robert “Bob” Hicks.

The home, located at 924 E. Robert “Bob” Hicks St., was named to the National Registry of Historic Places in January. The Hicks Foundation hopes to eventually turn the house into a civil rights museum.

On Tuesday, representatives from the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism inspected the home, which is in need of repairs. The department recently approved a grant for $10,567 to rewire utilities in the home, and to renovate broken windows and other aspects of the construction.

The grant includes a local match, which the foundation will pay. Funding is through the U.S. National Parks Service.

“We’re just down here to help the foundation to review the scope of the work,” said Nicole Hobson-Morris, executive director of the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation’s Office of Cultural Development. “We oversee a number of programs, seeking to foster historical preservation throughout the state.”

The home was the scene of a Feb. 1, 1965, showdown between the family and the Ku Klux Klan and its supporters. Two white Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) members were staying in the home when the Klan arrived and demanded for the Hicks family to surrender the CORE members.

The Hicks family refused, out of fear that the CORE members would be killed.

Barbara Hicks-Collins, the executive director of the Hicks Foundation and Hicks’ daughter, said that the house has been vandalized throughout the years.

“We want to maintain the historic integrity of the house,” Hicks-Collins said. “This house has been vandalized in the past, and so one of the things the grant will allow us to do is install security cameras.”

Hicks-Collins said that there is no timetable for the work to be completed, but the grant will allow the foundation to pay for its match with in-kind services, like volunteer labor.

“At some point we will likely be asking for volunteers to help with the work on the project,” she said.

Also joining the tour Tuesday were Tammy Bridges, a grant manger with the Office of Cultural Development; Michael Varnado, an architectural historian with the same office; and Valeira Hicks, the widow of Bob Hicks.