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One night my friend Shelley and I had been out on Jeff Davis Ave. This was Main Street in our small town of Long Beach, and it's what we typically did on the weekends. We hung out in Sonic, K&B [drug store] and National [grocery store] parking lots. We'd seen our friend Scott Garcia taking a lot of photos. So close to graduation, Scott was grabbing photos. "This might be the last time I see you" he kept saying, mostly to his Senior friends.

Around 2 a.m., Shelley and I sped home down Pineville road, trying to make curfew. Just past the Winn Dixie grocery store, the road was blocked by bright lights and sirens. We cursed whatever the issue was and headed around the block, sure we'd now miss Shelley's curfew.

The next morning we awoke to the tragic news. Our friends Lance and Scott had spun out on Pineville Road right there in front of the Winn Dixie. They hit a tree. Scott...didn't make it.

The funeral was held at the First Baptist Church in Long Beach. It was the only place large enough to hold all of the high school. Girls who had once made out with Scott in the front seat of their daddy's car sobbed uncontrollably. The football team sat on the front row.

He was buried in his football jersey.

We all loved Scott.

First Baptist Church of Long Beach was flattened by Hurricane Katrina. It's gone.

And now you have a personal connection.