LULING, La. — Candles lit up a parking lot in Luling Wednesday night, but the flames were no match to the light three young college freshmen brought to the lives of people who knew them best.
“For Hali, it would definitely be her smile. Lily, she was more of like the mothering type. Michaile was a little firecracker,” said Emily Duckworth who went to high school with them.
Three tables were filled with pictures and messages for three friends, 19-year-old Lily Dufrene, 18-year-old Hali Coss and 18-year-old Michaila Bowling.
“You never know the impact until something happens and then you see everybody coming together,” said Duckworth.
The three Hahnville High School graduates were killed over the weekend when an alleged drunk driver hit the SUV there were in head-on. They were out celebrating Lily’s birthday. Their sudden deaths have family and friends heartbroken.
“They were loved, and they’ll be missed,” said Duckworth. “My brain still hasn’t processed it because with tragic deaths like this, they’re here one moment and then they’re not. There was no warning, no nothing. They were here and then they weren’t.”
Freshmen at Nicholls State University, Hali was majoring in health sciences, Lily and Michaila were majoring in nursing. Wednesday night their campus community and hometown community became one as the sadness of tears were met with the comfort of hugs.
“We all loved all the girls,” said Jordan Lemoine who knew the young ladies.
Known to be charismatic, fun, and outgoing, friends can’t help but smile at the memories during grief.
“It makes me feel a lot better and comforting to know that they had people, the whole community, that loved them,” said Lemoine.
It’s the bond of this community that helps keep loved ones going, much like the bond between three friends, who will not be forgotten.
Organizers hope the vigil also creates awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and that it’s not acceptable under any circumstance.