Gretna, La. - Thursday is a night of praise and worship at Regular Baptist Church.
Reverend T.A. Hodge planned a special service for this night, one of healing for a community shattered by the murder of Ahlittia North.
"God has a reason for everything and sometimes we don't like the reasons that bring us together," says Hodge. "But can I tell you this one thing, it shouldn't take a bad situation to bring us together."
So many are hurting after Ahlittia's murder. Latoya Pickens never knew the little girl, but she's mourning too.
"It broke my heart," she says. "You know, that was a little baby and she didn't deserve it and it also brings us closer to our parents and gather children in their neighborhood and want to help them as much as we can because they don't deserve that."
Ahlittia's mother hopes her daughter's death will bring about change in the community.
She's already seeing it, as strangers become friends and neighbors talk to each other in front of the ever-growing memorial.
"I believe they love their child at first but they're going to even more... embrace them even more now," she says. "I love to see how everybody came together and I hope that this does bring a change into our community."
More services are planned for Ahlittia in the coming days but it still seems so unreal to Lisa North-Hill. Memories of her daughter keep popping into her head, how she loved to sing and dance and wanted to be in beauty pageants.
"I said, well first you gotta show me how you walk so she was doing her little walk like a little model and stuff and it was just hilarious," says Hill.
She will miss that laughter the most and she wants everyone in the community to celebrate that smile, that joy as they say goodbye.
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