Edward J. Barrett, an Irishman who was a soldier in the Federal Army of Occupation which was billeted in Pineville for two years after the conclusion of the Civil War, chose to remain and in 1868 married a local girl, Mary Reagan. He was later elected to the Louisiana State Legislature and served on the Rapids Parish School Board, Police Jury, Pineville Town Council and as Mayor of the Town of Pineville. On May 15, 1920, Barrett gave the land which includes this Park to Right Reverend Cornelius Van de Ven, Bishop of Alexandria, for use by the Roman Catholic Church. A small monastery and church was built, and the area was named Grace Park. Bishop Van de Ven and several priests were buried in Grace Park. The Most Reverend Charles P. Greco sold the land to Central Louisiana Electric Company on August 10, 1951, and the mission and cemetery were subsequently moved. The City was permitted to use the land from 1952 until it was donated by CLECO to the City on June 2, 1959. The Park was renamed May 6, 1952, in honor of William "Billy" Ezra Kees, Sr. Who was born June 11, 1881, as the son of Jesse M. and Nannie Cooper Kees. Billy Kees married Julia Elizabeth "Doll" Bradford in 1905, and he was appointed postmaster in 1911, when the post office was located in the Kees General Store on Red River. He was active in various civic, educational and
church affairs in Pineville and died April 14, 1938.