Shreds of charred red, white and blue fabric sat on the scorched doorstep of an Octavia Street home this week after a flaming American flag was left there overnight, an apparent prank or political statement that left an Uptown family temporarily displaced from their house.
The flag had been left on its flagpole overnight on the front porch of the house in the 2300 block of Octavia, but the family awoke about 3 a.m. Tuesday to find it lying on their doormat and in flames, said a neighbor who asked not to be identified.
“In the middle of the night, they smelled the smoke, they came out, and their whole front was on fire,” she said. “They called in the middle of the night — ‘Can we come over? Our house is on fire.’ ”
The blaze spread to the door frame before firefighters arrived to extinguish it, leaving the front of the house with damage from the flames, smoke and water.
Another neighbor’s surveillance video caught an image of a lone individual in the block about the time of the fire, the woman said.
That video was turned over to the New Orleans Police Department, and NOPD 2nd District Cmdr. Paul Noel said detectives have a lead on the person’s identity.
The neighbor said she didn’t believe the arsonist was trying to harm anyone or damage the house.
“I personally don’t think he weighed the consequences that the whole house could have gone up in smoke and he could have killed four people,” she said.