Even though it's all anyone has talked about for the past almost 48 hours, even though there are multiple news satellite trucks camping out a mile away, even though the police tape proves otherwise, the evening of Thursday, July 23, 2015, still feels so surreal.

It's a movie theater in the middle of the city. In front of the gym I frequent. Just down the road from the farmer's market I visit and the Horse Farm where we got engaged a few months ago. In the same parking lot as my favorite nearby bar and a quaint coffee shop. The last movie I remember seeing there was The Wedding Ringer, but I've lost count of just how many movies I have seen at The Grand 16.

It was surreal to hear the cacophony of sirens from home at 7:30 Thursday evening, then learn that it was not just another car crash; it was something much more heavy-hitting.

Like pretty much the rest of the city, we spent Thursday night glued to the news. Stuck on the local broadcasts, but occasionally flipping to a national cable news network for the sheer shock of this being the top national news story. Why did Lafayette have to make the national news for THIS?

Then Friday morning, we learned who the victims were: Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson. Two beautiful ladies who are gone far too soon. Instantly, the tributes came pouring out. Jillian is well-known in Lafayette for her two businesses, Red Arrow Workshop and Parish Ink, along with her band, The Figs. I am a frequenter of Parish Ink, as a fan of their popular Lafayette culture shirts. And I am a supporter of Red Arrow Workshop and their unique collection of recycled, hand-made and locally sourced products. I've mentioned them many times here on the blog, as one of my favorite local shops.

 Baggu recycled cotton backpack and flag patch from Red Arrow Workshop

The Acadian flag has represented our region since 1965, but its popularity in art and clothing has
surged in recent years, undoubtedly partly because of Jillian and her work and creativity. You can find a representation of it just about anywhere these days as a symbol of our cultural pride, and it will now serve as a symbol of our unity going forward.

Park bench in Downtown Lafayette

Because of how interconnected Lafayette is, we are all deeply impacted by the events this week. So many of us have a personal connection to the victims or the survivors, and at the same time we are grieving for them, we are also staying strong for them.
Lafayette is not a small town. But, it’s a special place. It’s a microcosm of culture and faith, of tradition and progressive thought. There is no place like Lafayette. - Amanda Harris for The Independent

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