BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The scene of so much tragedy on Iroquois Street was transformed into a fitting tribute as family, friends, and loved ones gathered to remember the lives of three people lost.
Flames once again flickered on the street. A week ago, fire took so much, claiming the lives of 77-year-old Gloria Anderson and two of her great-grandchildren, but on Friday, January 12, it served as something much different. The flames are now a beacon of hope for a community and a family still ripe with loss.
Erica Jackson lost both her grandmother and two children in the horrific blaze and says the grief cut her like a knife. "I started having a panic attack right after and I had a nervous breakdown," said Jackson. "It's real hard, but I'm trying to keep it together."
She calls the pain nearly unbearable and admits that it almost broke her. "Oh it was hard," she said. "It's hard and seeing everything and actually going through the house, it's real hard."
Jackson's best friend and son both remain in the hospital recovering from their injuries. While she says her friend's condition is not looking so good, Jackson's son has improved slightly, but she admits he faces a tough road ahead. "He's going to be okay, but he's just not going to be the same," Jackson explained. "It's hard, but I can do it."
Fighting for both of them to recover has brought the family closer and they say seeing so many people stepping forward to support them is priceless. "We've met so many people throughout this week," said Calesia Anderson. "People have been helping us and just blessing us in so many ways that we never even would have thought of."
Event organizer, Kari Dietz, says the candlelight vigil was way more than she could have ever imagined. The event brought together first responders, neighbors, and members of the community to help a family in need.
"I really felt the community," said Dietz. "It's all about healing together and walking through this tragedy side by side."
Through tears and hugs, it's a walk Dietz says can finally begin. She says the candlelight vigil was necessary because it shows the family that they will not face whatever lies ahead by themselves.
"In the depths of tragedy, to have a solitary white candle it's hope, eloquent, and it's powerful," she added.