On November 9, 2019, the family and descendants of Royal Cyril Brooks, in partnership with CRRJ, unveiled an historical marker in his honor. The State of Louisiana approved the marker for installation near where 44-year-old Royal Brooks was unjustly killed by a Gretna police officer on February 27, 1948.
Roy Leo Brooks Jr. and Ira Brooks, both grandchildren of Royal Brooks, unveiled the marker at the Ferry Landing Terminal in Gretna. It was there that Royal Brooks was taken off a bus by Patrolman Alvin Bladsacker after he offered to trade fares with another passenger. Bladsacker struck Brooks in the head with his gun and shot him twice, killing him in broad daylight. Bladsacker was indicted by a grand jury but acquitted of the charge at trial.
Speakers at the unveiling ceremony included Margaret Burnham and Kaylie Simon of CRRJ; Hon. Belinda C. Constant, Mayor of Gretna; and members of the Brooks family, including Iriane McCray, great-granddaughter of Royal Brooks, Reverend Louis Brooks Harrison, great-grand nephew, Kyle M. Green Jr., State representative-elect and great-grand nephew, and Donita Y. Brooks, esq., great-niece. Community members, other public officials, and media also attended the ceremony.
The marker represents a significant step in the racial history of Gretna. It is said to be the first marker honoring an African American in the city. It follows upon a public apology issued in April 2018 by Mayor Constant and the unveiling of a gravestone in his honor.