A flaming tire was placed outside the front door of the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum early Wednesday morning (Nov. 9), causing minor damage to the state’s oldest museum.
Richard Angelico, a Memorial Hall Foundation board member, said investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been notified of the incident, which Angelico said was captured on surveillance video.
ATF Special Agent Kevin Moran confirmed the agency has sent an arson investigator to assist local law enforcement with the investigation. Two FBI agents were spotted pulling up to the museum Wednesday afternoon.
About 1:45 a.m., two people dressed in baseball hats and hooded sweatshirts jumped over the front gate of the museum, 929 Camp St., Angelico said. They placed a tire against the front door and set it on fire, Angelico said, referencing the surveillance video he said has been turned over to law enforcement.
Firefighters were called to extinguish the fire, which caused some damage to the front door and to the granite steps leading up to the entrance. The charred impression of a tire could still be seen on the front steps.
The museum was closed Wednesday afternoon for repairs.
Angelico declined to speculate on a possible motive for the incident, which took place about 15 minutes after multiple media outlets reported Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
“It was just an act of vandalism, and it’s terrible,” Angelico said, adding that the museum is privately funded.
Also on Wednesday, authorities were investigating graffiti left on the Lee Circle monument. The phrase, “Dismantle white supremacy,” was painted in large red letters at the base of the monument. An ATF investigator was spotted outside the monument Wednesday afternoon, though Moran said he was uncertain whether the agency was investigating a possible connection between the graffiti and the museum incident.
New Orleans police spokeswoman Dawne Massey said detectives are collecting evidence and video, and have not determined whether the two incidents are connected.