Life in Lafayette this past month has been unbelievable in so many ways.
For one, Lafayette was rocked by an attrocity I never imagined I'd be so close to. It shook me and it shook the city, and it left us all feeling broken, asking hard questions, and trying to find positives to help us all heal. I attended one heart-breaking vigil for the victims of the shooting, and it was just so sad and so beautiful. The event closed with the crowd singing "You are my Sunshine", and now that song plays in the back of my mind every time I think of Jillian Johnson.
I can say this is the first time in my life I've felt so close to the saying "Bad things happen to good people." I've also abandoned "Everything happens for a reason."
Now the community is trying to honor Jillian's contributions to Acadiana by finding ways to give back. TownFolk, a non-profit started by Jillian and some friends that Jacob and I recently joined, is working to bring a community garden designed by Jillian to life. It will be called the Victory Garden, because "victory" was Jillian's favorite word. The garden will be four lots down from my apartment, down the street I where we can see the sun set from our window.
One event being planned to raise money for the garden is a festival scheduled to happen in the lot next door to the gallery. It will be called the Victory Festival, and during the event there will be a screening of Jillian's favorite movie and food trucks on the property. The event coordinator, Kelly Russo, came to Jacob and me with an idea for the gallery during the event. Kelly proposed that during the festival, we open up the gallery and display a show of art inspired by Jillian, her work, and her life as a whole. We currently have over 15 artists set to display pieces at this time, and the festival will take place on September 27th. We are so excited for it all! Especially the beautiful garden so close to us.
I've also recently started trying to get involved more in various projects I see coming up. For Downtown's Art Walk Committee, I created some stencils using my Silhouette Cameo machine and some designs I've created for a new campaign between Downtown Lafayette and CODOFIL called "French Friendly". Downtown had a large group of volunteers from UL's Soul Camp for a day, so one group went off with the "French Friendly" stencils I made to spray paint them around various places Downtown, while I lead another group around spray painting a path to highlight where to go for Art Walk.
I've also been getting more design experience by doing contract work for Prejean Creative for a little more than a month now. I'm so thankful for the experience; I learn so much every day on the job.
Aside from all this, I've also been trying to squeeze in a little bit of time for photoshoots. Yesterday I did a portrait shoot with one of my best friends, and I'll also be taking creative photos for a new female-fronted magazine's first fashion show on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it.
Overall, it has been quite a month that has kept me thinking about the world and myself and searching for ways to make both the community and myself fulfilled.
Tonight, I'll leave you with my latest favorite playlist:
Oh, and one more thing! Jacob and I also got a new friend for Mabelline. This 3-month-old little girl's name is Jimmy Page, and she looks like a squirrel and acts like a spoiled, needy 3-year-old child. But we all love her. :)