Flags were placed along the front of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Lafayette Saturday to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in the parish.
The white flags were installed Saturday morning by members of the Acadiana COVID Memorial Committee. The fourth installation of its kind in Lafayette, the St. Anthony's memorial was sponsored by District 44 State Representative Vincent Pierre.
The idea started a couple of months ago when Stacey Conrad with the Acadiana COVID Memorial Committee saw that American Trail in New Orleans was putting out white flags for all of the people who have died in New Orleans due to COVID. She said shortly after sharing a social media post of the installation, she and a friend had set up their first memorial at St. Barnabus Church. The installation at St. Anthony's is their fourth in Lafayette.
"It's a good visual so people driving by can see a flag for every single death. When you hear the words 250, it's a lot, but that's 250 people in our community that have died," said Conrad. "And when you drive by and you see all of these flags it just gives you a good visual as to why why masks and vaccines and mitigating this virus is so important."
Conrad said they will do as many of the memorials as they can.
"When people call us, we start to get into action, it takes us about a week to plan and get it together, we typically have a sponsor," added Conrad. "It's a place for [the community] to come out and grieve the loss of their loved ones, especially those who were not able to go to funerals in the beginning because of restrictions."
A similar white flag memorial was recently installed at the St. Landry Parish Courthouse.
Conard is also one of the administrators for the new COVID vaccine hotline that helps people who don't have internet access or helps the illiterate community to schedule their appointment.
Volunteers with a new COVID-19 vaccine hotline were also at St. Anthony's Saturday to help schedule vaccines in the area for people. To receive assistance in scheduling an appointment or for more information, call 337-362-0777.
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