NEW ORLEANS -- Young players, coaches and parents met inside a Treme playground to remember a first grader hit and killed by a driver on his way to school.
Shaud Wilson loved football and his teammates. On Wednesday night, the love was returned.
"Tough times don't last. Young people do. Tough times don't last. Young people do," was the football chant that echoed into the chilly February night.
Huddled together for both warmth and support, Wilson's NORDC football family showed up to Lemann Playground. The gathering was a chance to remember the boisterous, 6-year-old running back.
"Dear heavenly father I ask that you give this family strength," said Coach Shack Brown as dozens bowed their heads in prayer.
Wilson and his sister were hit by a car trying to cross Paris Avenue near I-610 on Monday morning on their way to school. The little boy died from his injuries. 22-year-old Arthur Toledano was later arrested after driving away from the scene.
"Shaud Money. Anyone you ask about a 6- or 7-year-old player they'd be able to tell you who Shaud Money was. He was actually one of our running backs on the team. He was actually our starting running back," Brown said.
Wilson's mother was showered with hugs from family and friends on the football field where her son played, all wanting to pay their respects. She spoke for the first time about losing her child and the love for him shown during the candlelight vigil.
"Very loved. He was a loveable child. He was the happiest child, always smiling. I'm going to miss him," said Heather Goeloe.
Overwhelming grief felt by those both young and old who knew the little boy, who loved football, taken in the blink of an eye.
"We lost our angel too fast, too fast, and nobody else should have to lose their angel that fast," Brown said to the mourning crowd.
A funeral for Wilson is scheduled for Saturday at the Boyd Funeral home on Chef Menteur Highway. The viewing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the service starts at 1:30 p.m.