A memorial parade and ceremony will be held in honor of a Lt. Vickie Wax, a lifelong resident of French Settlement and law enforcement veteran who lost her life in the line of duty in 2004, on Saturday, Aug. 22.
The parade will begin at the Moonlight Inn at 10 a.m. and travel south on La. Hwy. 16 to the Creole House Museum. A ceremony will take place following the parade, and scheduled speakers include House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Sen. Eddie Lambert.
The program is being held to celebrate Wax, who served in the Baton Rouge Police Department for 27 years until she was shot and killed with her own service weapon while attempting to handcuff a shoplifting suspect on May 22, 2004.
A graduate of French Settlement High and Southeastern Louisiana University, Wax was 51 when she passed. She left behind a husband, a father, two brothers, a sister, two nephews, numerous other relatives, and “an endless number of fellow law enforcement officers,” according to her obituary.
Angela Eastridge, a French Settlement resident, said she is organizing the parade in response to “all the negativity toward law enforcement.” Tensions for law enforcement were reawakened this year following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee.
“There’s so much division and negativity toward law enforcement,” Eastridge said. “I just wanted to do something positive and to bring the community together as one. Hopefully this will make an impact on young people to show them what a true hero really is.”
Anyone is welcome to enter the “Back the Blue” parade, Eastridge said, adding that people must submit an entry form. There will be a children’s contest for best float.
Members of Wax’s family will attend the parade and ceremony, Eastridge said. A “family float” will be near the front, and it will be decorated with blue and black balloons.
During the ceremony, Wax’s family will be presented with some kind of “memorial token,” Eastridge said, while the French Settlement Police Department will be presented with a framed photograph of Wax to hang on the wall of honor.
Though there is no cost to join the parade, Eastridge said people can donate to the Creole House Museum, which had to cancel its annual festival fundraiser due to the coronavirus pandemic. The museum will also be open during the day.
Line up for the parade is scheduled for 9 a.m. To enter the parade or ask questions, email Eastridge at email@example.com or call (225) 788-4687.