A family in Lafayette, Louisiana was excited to welcome their family member home from Navy deployment so they decided to put up a banner in the sailor’s honor. As reported by KATC TV 3, their excitement was not well received by their homeowners association, who had a lawyer tell the family to remove the sign within 30 days.
In a few weeks Petty Officer Third Class, Anthony Marsiglia, will be returning home after four years away. Marsiglia’s mother, Judi Pellegran, told the station, "He's out there and he's left his daughter, that's hard already for him. So this is how she keeps him in her heart everyday and clearly, if you see the house, it's pretty much a homage to her daddy." Alex, Marsiglia’s 8-year-old daughter, said, "I missed him and I'm proud of him. I wish he wasn't in the Navy."
The Frenchman’s Creek HOA letter to the family refers to a section of the homeowner’s rules specifying that signs may be no larger than 24 inches by 36 inches. However, the family, with KATC’s confirmation, measured the banner and reported that the welcome home sign falls within those guidelines. The family was left confused about the reasoning behind the HOA’s request. "I'm just not quite understanding why it can't stay up and they haven't been able to explain that to me either," said Pellegran.
She let the HOA attorney, Angela Odinet, know about the measurements and they responded via email that while the banner does not violate the size requirements, which they cited in their original letter, “The remaining problems are the failure of preapproval and the permanent display. The Board has met and advises that it does not allow permanent signs.” Odinet continued writing that the HOA would offer a compromise and allow the family to display their banner two weeks before the sailor’s return, and up to two weeks after.
The HOA has now hired a legal mediator to handle the situation. The mediator issued a statement about the compromise reading in part, “This proposal has been approved and sent by the homeowners association many weeks ago. No response has ever been received from [the homeowner] Mr. Pellegran.”
Marine veteran Christopher Babin heard the story, researched the matter, and wrote an email saying, "I voiced in there my concern for the fact that you know, a family supports their veteran, you know. And even if you don't, you should never try to stand in between that. And that's really what it really seemed like the homeowners association was doing." Babin even placed a yellow ribbon and flag over the Frenchman’s Creek subdivision sign. They were taken down and the protester was contacted by the HOA. Babin said, “My goal was to get an explanation prompted from them for all veterans, and anybody that this issue concerned."
KATC reached out again several times to the HOA attorney, but she said that she could not comment any further. The military family will be meeting with the HOA this weekend.