The new owner of the building that used to house San Antonio’s Estela’s Mexican Restaurant decided to paint over historic murals on its interior walls.
Three Latin-American icons are depicted in the murals: Selena Quintanilla, U.S. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez and Grammy Award-winning musician Flaco Jimenez. According to the Houston Chronicle, the decision to paint over the murals has some worried for the rest of San Antonio’s landmarks.
Robert Salcido, president of LGBTQ LULAC Council “Orgullo de San Antonio,” tried to send a letter to Delgado Funeral Home, the building’s new owners, asking them to preserve the works of art:
We acknowledge that these works are now your property to do with as you please. We are writing you respectfully, however, in the hope that these important works of art will not be destroyed. While … not necessarily appropriate for the décor of a funeral home … we are hoping you will meet with us to explore ideas for their preservation and for their possible display in a new venue.
However, the murals were reportedly painted over before the letter was read.
The funeral home’s manager claims she got the letter and responded, but not before the murals were painted on. She also said she attempted to contact Salcido, but could not get through. His phone number was reportedly incorrectly listed.
Salcido acknowledges the funeral home didn’t act with ill intent, but also “didn’t take enough time to see the pieces they were destroying.”
Salcido said in his letter that the mural of Henry B. Gonzalez, which the lawmaker signed, was especially relevant.
“As more and more new developments happen in historic neighborhoods, this is going to continue to happen,” Salcido said in an interview. “As a community, we have to talk about what can we do to protect these iconic places important to our community and to San Antonio.”