ABITA SPRINGS, La. (WGNO) — As the fight over banned books continues in Louisiana and across America, one family is outraged after the sign near their home supporting their local libraries, and a memorial of their son, was burned down.
Residents Jamie Foster and Evette Randolf are devastated after a fire destroyed a sign at their home early Friday morning. What once read “Ban Hate, Not Books” at the roadside of their Abita Springs home now stands the remains of the marker.
Foster tells WGNO the sign was installed in late February as a tribute to Randolf’s 17-year-old son Magnum, who died in 2018 of spina bifida complications. While supporting local libraries, the memorial was created by Evette’s son Ezra, who is transgender.
Detectives with the Abita Springs Fire Department say around 1:30 a.m. Friday, the sign, located at Highway 59 and Millar St. was fully engulfed in flames. Video released by the fire department shows the final moments of the fire just before it was extinguished.
We’re told the fire was suspicious in nature. Because of the sentiment behind the memorial, the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
“We thought Louisiana had moved past cowards burning crosses,” Foster said. “We quickly became resolved to see this act of domestic terrorism prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are also strengthened by the outpouring of support from the wonderful people of Abita, as well wishes from across the state and beyond.”
Multiple agencies are investigating the fire, including the Louisiana State Fire Marshal who is the leading investigator. Anyone with any additional information regarding the fire is urged to contact the following agencies:
Louisiana State Fire Marshal
Arson Hotline: 844-954-1221 or click here.
St. Tammany Fire Protection District
985-892-2065 or click here.