On Sunday, December 20, Natchitoches’ Church Street bridge was the scene of some much-needed hope and charity in what has been a most trying year. The railings on the Front Street end of the bridge had coats hanging from the ironwork, donated by people from all over our community and free to any who needed help staying warm.
Local physician Lori Rodriguez came up with the “Coats on the Bridge” idea after seeing a story on people in Dublin, Ireland leaving coats on the city’s Ha’Penny Bridge for anyone who may need a coat for the winter. She asked herself “Why can’t we do that here?”, got the mayor’s permission and got to work with some of her friends. The result was Natchitoches’ first “Coats on the Bridge” event.
As people took a coat from the bridge, others brought in more. Ms. Tywana Dupree brought a car trunk full of coats. Children came up with coats they had outgrown to be given to other children who needed them. Any coats left over will be donated to agencies working with the homeless.
“Coats on the Bridge” was a wonderful event, a fine example of everything that is right and good about life in a small town. One person can indeed make a difference. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend Dr. Rodriguez, the people who stood on the bridge with her and the numerous people of every age, race and walk of life who brought a coat for their friends and neighbors who needed one. May this event be the start of a long local tradition!