South Florida Grieves After Paris Attacks

Nov 15, 2015

In the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, the French consul held a vigil in Brickell on Saturday. Roughly 40 people gathered at the consulate with candles and flowers to mourn those killed during Friday’s attacks. Shock and deep sadness permeated the scene.

Philippe Létrilliart, the consul general of France in Miami, called for a moment of silence to honor the 129 people who lost their lives.

Xavier Capdevielle, vice president of the Miami French consulate board, voiced strong support for military action. “After 9/11,  the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan, and that is the answer, and the answer of our president yesterday,” Capdevielle stated. “He told us there would be a merciless war and we will go to Syria and Iraq to kick them out, and I’m proud that the president says so.”

Ian Schreiber, an intern at the French consulate, shared an eyewitness account from a classmate who was at the Paris soccer stadium during the explosions. “She was afraid and she said there was panic going on, but she made it out OK and says she’s fine now, ” Schreiber said. “It’s just terrifying how much it really hits home.”

Many who attended the vigil were French citizens. They said being far from loved ones in Paris was a source of great fear and anxiety. “That worry and that state of not knowing creates such a panic,” said Vivane D’adesky, a French-American. “And especially because a lot of us here, I know we feel like there’s nothing we can do but sit and wait.”

Those at the vigil emphasized that unity at home and abroad is crucial now. “All we can do is support each other, keep talking about it, and keep putting pressure on our government to make a change and do something about it,” said D’adesky.

At the French Restaurant Le Bouchon in Coconut Grove, General Manager Raphaelle Mansana says she moved to Miami three years ago from Paris and is happy to be here during this tragic time in France. “I think its crazy and I feel sad and angry about what happened in Paris," said Mansana on Monday. "I’m afraid for my friends and family who [are] in France right now. But I am super happy to be here in America I feel more protected.”


Candles, flowers and French flags at the vigil.
Credit Audrey Armitage