St. Landry Parish is honoring those who have died from COVID-19 in the parish with a special memorial at the parish courthouse.
Initially started by an artist in Washington, D.C., the white flags each symbolize a life that was lost due to the coronavirus. The project has since trickled down to smaller communities nationwide, including Lafayette and Baton Rouge. St. Landry Parish Director of Emergency Preparedness and Public Relations Van Reed said that after seeing the memorial, Opelousas and the parish wanted to be a part of it.
Resident Delita Rubin-Broussard purchased and donated the flags to the parish. She said she wanted to honor the victims of COVID-19, so she called parish president Jesse Bellard and told him she wanted to donate the flags to someone who could display all of them since she couldn't put them in her front yard.
More than 200 small white flags were placed across the courthouse grounds over the past three weeks, representing the 246 St. Landry Parish residents that have passed away from COVID-19, Reed said.
Reed explained that it's important for residents to realize that COVID-19 has affected members of the community. The parish government wants people to realize the importance of the pandemic, Reed added, and know that the government is standing beside its residents and honoring those who have died.
The flags also have a personal meaning to Reed.
"My father passed away from COVID several months ago, and I think it's important for people to realize that it's not just a disease like the flu," he said. "There are more serious implications when you get COVID. People need to take it serious."
If you live in the parish and want to honor a loved one who has died from the virus, flags are available at the courthouse and are free to everyone. Flags are in a box located at the southeast side of the grounds, along with a marker. Residents are invited to stop by, pick out a flag, write the name of their loved one on it, and place it among the others.
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