LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Lake Charles community gathered together at the goose fountain near the Lake Charles Civic Center on Saturday to honor and celebrate the life of Heidi Broussard.
Broussard, 33, who is from Austin but grew up in Lake Charles, was reported missing in December and was found dead some days later in Houston.
Those who knew Broussard, or knew of her, held hands along the waterfront and prayed, thinking of her family. Lifelong friend Rachel Powell led the vigil with two of Broussard’s favorite songs: “Hallelujah,” and “Party in the U.S.A.,” by Miley Cyrus.
With candles and flashlights in hand, the crowd went around and shared what Heidi meant to them, including funny moments.
“My funniest moment with her was when she smacked me in the head with the flagpole,” said Chelsea Carlson, who was in color guard with Broussard at LaGrange High School. “She thought it was hilarious and it really hurt and she just kept laughing, and you couldn’t do anything but laugh back.”
Carlson’s memory kept her and Broussard in touch and still laughing as adults, Carlson said.
Friends and neighbors at the vigil echoed Carlson’s appreciation for Broussard’s happiness and smile. Wanda Owens is a hometown neighbor who remembered Broussard as a child.
“She loved animals, she’d always stop and talk to my husband about our little dog,” Owens said. “As a community, I can’t believe that this has happened to her. We’re here just to support the family and stand in the gap for this family.”
Organizers of the vigil said they’re collecting photos and video of Heidi to put together for the family.
Anyone interested in donating to help cover funeral expenses and fund the education of Broussard’s children can donate at Zelle using the email address email@example.com or go to any Chase bank and contribute to the “Finding Heidi and Margo fund."