RAYNE, LA (NBC33) — Hundreds attended the prayer vigil in the town of Rayne on Thursday, April 26. Organizers say it was the best way for the community to find comfort after a fatal fire claimed the lives of four children.
“This was just what the community needed,” Elaine Sias, a resident of Rayne and organizer of the vigil, explained. “There was no talking. There was a lot of sobbing. There were people there of all ages – young and old.”
Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the mother of the children, Shaqueta McDade, is behind bars, facing four counts of Second-Degree murder.
“People who attended were able to talk to each other, comfort each other and provide support,” Sias said. “We invited a representative from the family to come and light the candle and spread it throughout the crowd. It was moving.”
One child from the family survived the incident. The 10-year-old boy was not home when the blaze broke out. Now, however, he’s forced to move on without the people who have always been there in the past.
“By all of us coming together, we can all be there for each other and we can all start to move past this pain and continue to heal,” Sias noted. “That’s the best way to show love for the ones we lost – to move forward.”
Continuing that support was a fundraiser to create a trust fund for that young man. A BBQ sale was held on Sunday, April 29 at the Union Hall in Rayne.
“All the food was donated,” Sias noted. “It was an awesome turn out. I don’t think they had anything left at the end of the day. The line just continued to come and they got the food out as fast as they could.
“Everyone just showed up and supported.”
The service for the children will be held on Saturday, May 5 at the Gossen Funeral Home. The entire cost was donated by the funeral home due to the circumstances surrounding the deaths.