NEW ORLEANS — Everette Jackson grew up along the banks of Bayou Lafourche in Raceland, Louisiana.
He died on a river, 2000 miles from home near Boise, Idaho.
On June 19, searchers found the 21-year-old’s body in the Payette River, two miles downstream from where he fell off an inner tube.
He was floating the river with a group of friends a week earlier.
A witness told investigators Jackson slipped into the water and never came back up.
“I’m praying for his mom and his whole family, sweet people,” Samantha Lawson said. “Just praying for his family.”
Lawson is Jackson’s godmother.
“He was one of the little boys that you never had to holler at and tell him to stop doing something or whatever,” she said. “He just was an angel and now he’s an angel in heaven.”
Latrice Young lives across the street from the Jackson family.
“They’re relieved, but it wasn’t the outcome they wanted,” Young said. “We prayed very, very hard that he be found safe and unharmed. Nothing in this world could prepare you for what they found, yesterday, nothing.”
Jackson played on the LSU Eunice basketball team.
Central Lafourche High School basketball coach Henry Latten helped organize a prayer ceremony for the family.
“Being able to have the body definitely can bring a sigh of relief for everybody, that they’re no longer searching for him and wondering what happened to him,” Latten said. “Being able to recover the body and bring him home can definitely bring some closure and peace to the community, especially the family.”
Latten arrived at Central Lafourche a year after Jackson graduated.
But he says the young man would come back to the school and work out during the summer.
The coach said he hugged his own kids a little closer after hearing Jackson’s body was found.
“We often take for granted the moments we have with one another,” he said. “We put so much energy into things that don’t matter.”
Jackson’s loss is felt across the Raceland community. Neighbors said they will be there when the Jackson family returns from Idaho and support them in their time of need.
“He had a bright future ahead of him,” Latten said. “It hurts. It hurts to know something happened to that young man.”
“My prayers and my condolences are just with the Jackson family and we’re here for you all if you all need anything,” Young said. “God Bless you all and I’m sorry for their loss.”
Some of Jackson’s family members flew to Boise to help in the search for his body. Funeral arrangements are now being made.