Victims of firebombing moved by ‘outpouring of support’ as arson investigation continues

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Investigators surround one of the cars that burned across the street from the house. (Robert Morris,

Investigators surround one of the cars that burned across the street from the house. (Robert Morris,

A number of fundraisers have been created to help the family apparently targeted by Thursday morning’s firebombing just off Prytania Street, many of which have been organized by the many community groups they belong to.

Political consultant Mario Zervigon said his family has been inundated with offers of clothing, places to stay, and even vehicles to borrow after his own two cars were blown up early Thursday morning in a fire that destroyed much of his house as well.

“Thank you so much for everyone’s thoughts and prayers. It has been a very long day made easier by the amazing outpouring of support,” Zervigon wrote in a post online late Thursday. “I am personally very moved by all the kind words people have expressed today.”

There are a number of ways to help the victims:

  • Mark Vicknair, a former judicial candidate and president of the Alliance for Good Government who is friends with the family, has created a link to send donations electronically.
  • The Camel Toe Lady Steppers, a popular women’s dance troupe, has also organized an online fundraiser for the family. Another family in an upstairs apartment was also displaced by the fire, and the donations collected will help them as well, the group says.
  • The family’s church, St. George’s Episcopal, is also collecting donations at the office at 4600 St. Charles Avenue.
  • Supporters of the other couple displaced in the fire have also started an online fundraising campaign specifically for them.

Investigators have called the fire a ‘possible arson,’ and a chorus of elected officials Thursday decried it as an apparent act of political intimidation likely related to Zervigon’s work as a campaign fundraiser. Zervigon said Friday morning that he has personally been careful not to indulge in any conspiracy theories about the arsonists’ motives while the investigation proceeds.

“I would feel in danger if I had actually done something to have somebody after me,” Zervigon said Friday morning. “But I don’t think they actually meant to light the house on fire. There’s no reason why me or my family would be targeted.”

Officials with the ATF told our reporting partners at WWL-TV on Thursday that political motivation is an area they are investigating, though they are also looking into the possibility it may have been random. Zervigon is only working on one active campaign in the Dec. 6 runoff — serving as campaign finance manager for Forest Wright’s challenge to incumbent Public Service Commission Eric Skrmetta — and both the Wright and Skrmetta campaigns issued statements Thursday offering sympathy to the affected families and condemning the attack.

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