NEW ORLEANS — Three statues of prominent historical figures were found vandalized across New Orleans Friday morning.
A statue of John McDonogh in front of Gallier Hall in New Orleans was reportedly toppled. According to The New Orleans Advocate | Times-Picayune, the statue was lying in shrubs in Lafayette Square, next to its pedestal and a rope as of 7:30 a.m.
The newspaper said no one immediately took responsibility for the vandalism.
A short time later, a statue of philanthropist Sophie B. Wright was found covered in red spray paint in the 1900 block of Magazine Street. "BLM," standing for the Black Lives Matter movement, was written several times across the figure.
A bust of confederate soldier Charles Didier Dreux was also found toppled from its pedestal in the neutral ground of Jefferson Davis Parkway, according to NOLA.com.
City officials told the newspaper they condemn the vandalism and said the incidents were under investigation. No potential suspects were immediately named.
"The destruction and vandalism of City property will not be tolerated. These incidents will be fully investigated and those responsible will face consequences," said Cantrell administration spokesman Beau Tidwell.
Charles Didier Dreux was the first Confederate soldier from Louisiana killed in the Civil War. Before the war, he was a district attorney and was in the Louisiana state legislature. The newspaper reports that someone had sprayed red paint on the bust on Thursday, prior to the toppling.
According to the organization Take Em' Down NOLA, while Sophie B. Wright was an educator and was referred to as "Saint Sophie" at times, she was also "President of Stonewall Jackson Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy, upheld segregation in womens & religious movements."
It is the second time in less than a month that a statue of John McDonogh, a slave owner, has been targeted by vandals. In June, two people were charged with inciting a riot and other charges for their alleged role in toppling a statue of McDonogh in Duncan Plaza and later dumping it in the Mississippi River.
See more photos on NOLA.com
McDonogh was a white slave owner who profited from Black people who were forced to work for their freedom over a period of 15 years. He developed a program where slaves he owned could buy their own freedom, generally over the course of 15 years while he took in money from their forced labor before they were able to earn their freedom.
McDonogh left the bulk of his fortune to the cities of Baltimore and New Orleans to build public schools for poor children: white and freed Black children. More than 30 public schools were built in New Orleans because of his donation.
According to the WPA and state library of Louisiana, the statue outside of Gallier Hall was erected in 1898 on McDonogh's birthday, after $7,000 was raised by a local committee. Many of the funds were raised from 5-cent donations from students.
New Orleans public school students would hold a procession to the statue each year on McDonogh Day, the first Friday in May.