Fundraiser at sports bar raised nearly $4K for 9-year-old Peter Paul Rose Jr.
An emotional Jamie Loyacono of Metairie pointed to a photograph, one of many in a framed collage about Lindsay Nichols’ life, showing her child standing alongside Nichols and her son, Peter Paul Rose Jr.
“That’s my daughter standing there with Lindsay,” said a reflective Loyacono about the loss of her Des Allemands friend she’d known for eight years. Their sons had become friends, too.
“We’re all just showing our love for her and how much we loved and cared about her,” she said.
Family, friends and Good Samaritans, some who didn’t know the family, rallied in support of Peter, whose mother was found shot to death in the trunk of her burning Honda in New Orleans East on June 21. By July 20, the New Orleans Police Dept. announced the arrest of Thayon Samson, a man from the same area where Nichols’ body was found. Samson was charged with second-degree murder and remains in jail on $2.5 million bond.
The brutal details of the case were so hard to bear that Peter traveled with family to Maine to take a break from dealing with the murder investigation. It had been a solemn week for Nichols’ family so family and friends stepped in to help hold a fundraiser Saturday for Peter.
Volunteers helped organize the benefit and many more jumped on board when they heard it was for Nichols’ son. They helped prepare catfish lunches for donations, gather ed donated items for a raffle and silent auction that included sports items, gift cards and a flat-screen television. More items kept coming in throughout the day as word spread in the community about the fundraiser.
Among donated items was a Saints football signed by Saints quarterback Drew Brees and another football with several signatures including Bobby Hebert, retired Saints quarterback.
Julie Tompkins, Nichols’ aunt, praised the community for the outpouring of support. Many volunteers said they wanted to help Peter with expenses and college.
In all, they raised $3,700 for Nichols’ son Saturday. Additionally, Tompkins said a man donated a bicycle to Peter after hearing what happened to his mother.
A family member in Maine who makes tote bags has generated another $1,000 for him so far by advertising the cause on Facebook and dedicating proceeds to him.
But the day was more personal at Lil Leslie’s, where friends recounted experiences with Nichols.
Gretchen Vallon of Metairie said she was devastated over losing her friend of 15 years, but appreciated everyone’s efforts with the fundraiser.
“I think it’s really great that people are coming together in their time of need and putting everything into it,” Vallon said. “There are so many people going above and beyond to help her son, and you don’t see this everyday.”Jessica Barrios of Des Allemands, whose known Nichols since they were children in dance classes together, said she also went to the fundraiser to show her support.
“I’ve been with her family through all this,” Barrios said. “I think everything turned out really nice.”
Barrios also was still shaken by the loss of Nichols, adding, “You never think it’s going to happen to someone you know.”
Laura Sampson, a longtime family friend, attended Saturday’s fundraiser in support of her close friend Julie Tompkins.“Myself and the family are overwhelmed by the support from the community and total strangers in remembrance of Lindsay Marie, and financial support for her young son,” said Sampson, who started Rose’s GoFundMe account (college fund) now at $5,063.
The account is titled, “Justice for Lindsay Marie.”It’s the kind of support, she said, that she believes will extend far beyond Saturday.
Sampson applauded the New Orleans Police Department detectives for gathering enough evidence to hold the suspect in the murder case although she believes there could be more suspects and more information coming about what happened to Nichols.
“I know it will take months, even years, for this to go to trial,” she said of Nichols’ case. “The entire family, friends and, maybe even strangers, will be in that courtroom once that trial begins.”