FRANKLIN, LA. — A shattered community gathered here on Friday to grieve Mayci Breaux, one of two people shot to death the night prior in a nearby theater.
Friends and family met at noon at a church in this small city along Louisiana’s southern shore to remember Breaux, who was described by those who knew her as a role model and diligent student, who was beautiful both inside and out.
“This is going to affect the community for a long time,” said Kim Adams, Breaux’s former principal.
“She’s just a beautiful person,” Adams said after the service. “That’s all you can say.”
Breaux, 21, was with her boyfriend at a theater in Lafayette Thursday night when she and another local woman Jillian Johnson were killed, while nine others were wounded.
Breaux often talked about marrying and having children with her longtime boyfriend Matthew Rodriguez, her mother Dondie Breaux told the New York Daily News.
“They had so many plans — just to get married, have kids,” Breaux said.
Adams said Breaux and her boyfriend both came from Franklin families going back several generations. Though she was a student in Lafayette, Adams said, Breaux’s family still lives in this small town about an hour away.
“The family’s just — they’re in shock,” Mayor Raymond Harris, Jr. said in an interview on Friday. Harris has been mayor of this city of more than 7,500 for over a decade and said he spoke briefly with Breaux’s father on Friday morning.
“It’s a small community,” Adams said, noting that although Breaux’s memorial was only organized at 6:30 a.m., the church was almost full.
Shaye Polito, 16, and Grace Ibert, 17, who attended and helped to arrange the service, remembered Breaux as a role model.
“She was definitely someone we looked up to,” said Polito, a high school junior who fought back tears as she described Breaux, the older sister of a friend.
Ibert knew Breaux through two of Breaux’s cousins, who are in her senior class, she said. Ibert said Breaux was a cheerleader in high school and described her as sweet, noting that she would always talk to younger students. “We all used to look up to her,” Ibert said.
She was no different at work, said colleagues who described her as a helpful, calm, dedicated and beautiful friend.
“I just always remember when she would walk in, how she looked — she was an extraordinarily, outer-worldly beautiful girl,” said Amber Domingue, a co-worker at Coco Eros, a local women’s clothing store, who often photographed Breaux as she modeled the store’s clothes.
Co-owner Emily Adams said she knew Mayci most of her life, having grown up in the same small town.
“Our families have always been very close,” she said in an online message. “She has always been such a happy person.”
Adams said she jumped at the chance to hire Breaux, describing her as trustworthy, loyal, reliable and dedicated.
“Outside of work she was just as sweet and innocent and always living life,” she said.
Breaux was just a week away from finishing the first semester of a three-year radiology program, said Robert McLaughlin, who taught Breaux in five courses over the past year, two of them as part of the program.
“She’s been very energetic, determined, very bright. She’s always in great spirits, and I didn’t see any flaws,” McLaughlin said in an interview.
It was early, said McLaughlin, but he saw potential: “She had a long career ahead of her waiting to do this, and she could do anything she wanted to.”
On Friday afternoon, more than 20 cars lined the yard of the family home, a beautiful ranch on an oak-lined country road that cuts through Louisiana farmland. Family members inside the house politely declined to speak to reporters, but a relative outside the house identified Breaux’s parents as Kevin and Dondie Breaux. She said Breaux is also survived by a younger sister, Ali, and an older brother, Dustin.
Teddy Amenabar contributed.