Court officials are used to seeing some unusual things, but never anything like what was left Tuesday on the district attorney's front steps: a slaughtered baby goat and several headless birds.
Some staff members noticed the closed, white kitchen-size trash bag sitting in front of the Greene Street office Monday, but the gruesome contents weren't discovered until Tuesday when Investigator Dan Robinson opened the bag out of curiosity.
"I looked in the bag and saw a hoof," Mr. Robinson said. "Somebody's missing a goat."
A kid, a chicken, a rooster, seven pigeons and a handful of corn were inside the bag. The goat's head also was in the bag.
Jim Larmer, director of Animal Control, and a sheriff's officer arrived Tuesday to investigate and remove the package.
"Somebody is trying to put a scare in somebody," Mr. Larmer said.
He said he has seen something similar only once before. Eight or nine years ago, a circle of small animals, dead and skinned, was discovered near Augusta Mall. No one ever determined who was responsible, Mr. Larmer said.
Although animals are sometimes sacrificed in certain religious ceremonies, published Santeria information saya a sacrifice is used to mark significant events such as a birth or death. Santeria is an ancient African religion blended with Catholicism by Africans enslaved and brought to the West.
The discovery at the district attorney's office has nothing to do with voodoo, said a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. The image of voodoo as an evil process is myth, she said. Voodoo is similar to Santeria in that it is a blend of religious beliefs brought from Africa and Christianity.
Prosecutors didn't seem intimidated by the bundle; most teased one another about it Tuesday.
District Attorney Danny Craig -- who finished trying a death-penalty case in Columbia County on Saturday and began another death penalty case in Richmond County on Monday -- said he has no idea what the bundle meant.
Mr. Craig remembered a similar event in the summer of 1995 when powder was sprinkled in a Richmond County Superior Court courtroom.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.