Following a tragic accident that cost 7-year-old Alina Ezzo her life, Crystal Landry called upon her artistic side to celebrate and memorialize the girl for her family.
Landry made a black and gold cross adorned with angel wings that would be hung up and displayed at the scene of the 2017 accident. The colors were a reminder of the Luling girl’s ever-enthusiastic love for the New Orleans Saints. The cross had hung on a tree until recently, when a parish project to cut down and trim trees in that area, clearing space for drainage, led a worker collect the cross and reach out to Landry.
“They wanted to make sure we could get it to her mother,” Landry said. “We haven’t been able to get in touch.”
The contact number Landry had for Ezzo’s mother from when she first presented the remembrance to her has been disconnected. She’s been reaching out to others who might know the family since, including friends who work at Luling Elementary, where Ezzo went to school, and some via Facebook.
Thus far, the trail has come up empty.
“We knew people who knew her. I think that’s how we got contact with her mother, but I can’t remember who actually was able to get me the number to get in touch,” Landry said. “I just really want them to have (the cross).”
Ezzo was killed in a car crash on Sept. 24, 2017. She was ejected from the vehicle, which overturned after striking several trees off LA Hwy. 18 east, according to Louisiana state police.
While Landry did not know the family, the story hit home for her: she worked as a substitute teacher in St. Charles Parish from 2003 to 2017, when she moved to the Northshore.
“I very well could have had her for a class, even if just for a day,” Landry said. “I wanted them to have something they could hang up and have family and friends pass by to see it. I have kids of my own and I can’t imagine what her mother was going through.”
She got the idea to make the cross from others who had displayed similar memorial items. The decorative angel wings were pink and purple – Ezzo’s favorite colors. And the Saints flavor was unmistakable.
“For such a young girl to have such a strong love of football, it just touched my heart,” said Landry. “I have some talent for painting and drawing, and I’m very crafty. I was really big into painting at that point. I thought I’d do something with that.”
Then she delivered it to the girl’s mother. She hopes to be able to do so again.
“She wanted to see it (at the time) … she wanted to speak with my friend Courtney about the accident, since he was among the first on the scene, and they did. I think she just wanted some peace of mind,” Landry said.