Hundreds of people gathered Friday at Church of the Assumption in downtown Franklin, Mayci Breaux’s hometown some 55 miles southeast of Lafayette.
The mourners recited the rosary before departing the church in small groups, many wiping tears from their eyes and exchanging hugs, still in shock over the death of the 21-year-old college student.
Breaux, along with Jillian Johnson, 33, were shot and killed Thursday night by a gunman sitting in the same showing of “Trainwreck” at Lafayette’s Grand 16 Theatre as they were.
Among the mourners Friday was Kim Adams, the principal at Hanson Memorial High School, where Breaux graduated in 2012.
“She was such a bright student, a model student,” Adams said, pausing to collect herself. Breaux had been the school’s carnival queen in 2012 and, even though she graduated three years ago, was still a fixture around the school, Adams said.
Adams last saw Breaux at a school event in May, she said.
Adams also had kind words for Matthew Rodriguez, Breaux’s fiancé, who was with Breaux and was shot but is expected to survive.
“He was a great student, too,” Adams said.
Another teacher at Hanson, Ronnie Sinitiere, taught Breaux social studies.
“She was involved in everything at the school,” he said.
Breaux was a cheerleader and worked with a program at the school that sent students to visit residents at nursing homes, Sinitiere said.
“I will always remember her smile,” Sinitiere said.
The school will have counselors available for students and teachers even before the start of school two weeks away, Adams said.
The mayor of the small city nestled among sugar cane fields said the residents are in shock.
“People are wondering why,” Raymond Harris said, standing under the oaks at Church of the Assumption. “This is hard; this is difficult.”
Breaux, who was a contestant for the 2012 Queen Sugar at the Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia, enrolled at LSU-Eunice, where she was a first-year student in radiologic technology.
There, her instructor, Robert McLaughlin, choked back tears as he described the 21-year-old.
“She occasionally referred to herself as ‘the cute one,’ ” he said, recalling her bright personality. She was a good student whom other students looked up to, he said.
Breaux was scheduled to begin doing some of her work at Lafayette General, a hospital spokesman said.
McLaughlin and interim Chancellor Renee Robichaux will meet with students Monday and offer counseling services. The final exam is scheduled for Wednesday, but any student who needs it will be given extra time to complete the exam, he said.
Other tributes were more muted. The clothing store where Breaux worked, Coco Eros, had a handwritten note posted on its door: “Due to the tragedy of last night’s events we are closed today in memory of our beloved — Mayci Breaux.”
LSU-Eunice’s Laughlin was still searching for words.
“She did everything so well; you couldn’t find bad to say about her,” McLaughlin said.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.