It’s been 67 days since the shooting at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette took the lives of Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux.
However, today will be remembered as a day of victory because of Jillian’s vision of a community garden is finally coming to reality.
Five years before Jillian Johnson was murdered at the Grand Theatre, she dreamed of a garden that could bring people together.
For one reason or another, the pieces never fell together—until now.
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority donated the land needed for the garden, and tonight, “Town Folk”, an organization she helped create, held a groundbreaking ceremony for Jillian’s “Victory Garden.”
“It’s our way to help people heal a little bit from the tragedy.” said Jen Doucet, President of Town Folk.
Hundreds showed up to off their support.
One of her friends, John Troutman says Jillian impacted the lives of so many people.
“It’s sad that she isn’t here to see it but I know she would be so happy to see so many people from her neighborhood and community coming together.” said John Troutman, Friend of Jillian.
The Victory Garden is in the heart of Lafayette, and will highlight the beauty of the downtown area.
“I think this garden just embodies who she was.” said Doucet.
That embodiment was a free spirit who held a strong belief in community.
Those attributes will live on in this garden.
“People can have meetings, maybe have a party and come over and cut some vegetables or herbs that they would need.” said Marcus Descant, Victory Garden Designer.
Only a few plants were planted today but by Spring 2016, Jillian’s full vision will be realized.
“This garden is so important because it is a representation of the life that is possible that will still go on and everything thing that is done in this garden will be honoring her.” said Doucet.
After the completion of this garden, organizers hope it won’t stop there. They want to see more community gardens in Lafayette and beyond.
Town Folk also held a “Victory Festival” to celebrate Jillian’s life and to fundraise for the garden.
The event was capped off with a performance from her band, “The Figs.”
They also held a silent auction and showed her favorite movie of all time, “The Coal Miner’s Daughter.”