For the second time in the past several months, vandals struck the Obama mural on a building on the southern edge of Midtown that served as local Democratic Party headquarters during the presidential campaign.
Splashes of black and red paint mar the 10-foot image of the 44th president in the 3700 block of Travis near West Alabama. The mural had been restored in October after vandals had defaced it with splashes of paint. That previous vandalism was also discovered on a Monday.
"It's bad," said Jose Fermin, as he stared at the ruined painting early Monday morning. Fermin works across the street at the Breakfast Klub, a popular eatery which uses part of the building for storage. He said he supports Barack Obama because he is the country's president. It's unclear when the mural was damaged.
The mural, originally unveiled during the 2008 presidential campaign, has been a symbol of hope for Obama supporters.
"We think it's absolutely horrible," said Chuck Vivian, who was visiting Houston with his wife, Carly Vivian, from Scottdale, Ariz. They were at the Breakfast Klub early Monday to eat. The couple supports Obama.
"We hope," Chuck Vivian said, "this is not indicative of what Houston is all about."
The mural project was done at the request of state Sen. Rodney Ellis. It was completed without pay by local artists Reginald Adams, GONZO247, Mr. Bristle and Christian Azul. After it was damaged in October, the mural was redesigned and repainted.
At the time the mural was completed, International Studies professor Rogelio Garcia Contreras of the University of St. Thomas said it spoke more about the movement of change and hope than about Obama as a candidate. With the exception of propaganda campaigns in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, he said, murals generally don't express ideas about a person.
"I think it reflects the idea that Obama is helping America move toward something they really need, and that's hope," Contreras said, "and that's something different than what we've had in the last two centuries as it relates to ethnicity, links to power and some sort of network of support."