NEW ORLEANS- The faces of men sit mounted on a table in Marrero. Their ages range from early 20's to mid 30's. All of them were murdered, leaving their grieving mothers behind.
"I go to the graveyard everyday. Everyday. That's the only way I can talk to him. Birthdays: graveyard. Holidays: graveyard," Evelyn McCall said.
McCall lost not one, but two of her sons at the same time. Delant-a McCall, 22, and Martin Harry III, 18, were shot and killed while in a car on Aug. 12, 2012 in Marrero.
"My son (Martin) was about to go to college. He only wanted to stay home for his birthday. He got killed three days before his birthday," McCall said.
In February, Brenda Roche's 37-year-old son, Brock Roche, was shot and killed in front of a KFC in Algiers. His laugh and personality are still fresh on her mind.
"He'd just always say 'Mom, I love you.' I'd tell him I love him too. Now I got to take care of his two little ones," Roche said.
It's a pain no mother should feel. Catherine Fleming's son, Carl Ray Flemming, was also killed by gun violence.
"It's been seven years and it feels like yesterday. It never stopped hurting," Catherine Fleming said.
With Mothers' Day approaching, a once cheerful holiday for them is now a grim reminder of the children they lost.
"Even with my two daughters, I don't have my son," Fleming said.
Despite their sorrow, these women, who are now part of a group called "A Mother's Cry" share their joy and their pain with each other.
"We could talk about kids with each other. We could comfort one another. Lean on each other's shoulder. We could cry," Jackson said.
A Mother's Cry Founder Michelle Jackson organized a dinner for the women, celebrating the life of their sons.
"We know our kids are together. We know they're smiling down on us. And for all of us to be together as a group is comfort," Jackson said.
Before their meal, they all gathered outside. They lit candles and prayed before releasing balloons towards heaven.
WWL-TV Crime Analyst Jeff Asher says there have been 70 murders so far in New Orleans this year and more than 240 people shot.
"The violence really needs to stop," McCall said.
These mothers know nothing can bring their sons back, but they will lean on each other, celebrating the men who made their lives as mothers fulfilling.
"We'll never forget., but we're trying to be an example for the next mother that may go through what we're going through," McCall said.
WWL-TV has invited A Mother's Cry to sit with the station at Zulu On the Bayou this Sunday. Zulu on the Bayou is a free event this Sunday to honor mothers.
If you would like to get involved in A Mother's Cry, contact Michelle Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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