Students returned to school Wednesday in the Broadmoor neighborhood, one day after losing three classmates to a devastating fire.
They got off the bus holding stuffed animals, and quietly, students of Wilson Charter Elementary School walked across the street and placed them in a growing memorial.
"A lot of times when things like this happen, people often say they were the nicest children in the world," said Principal Logan Crowe. "These were the nicest children in the world - just never an unkind word, always adored by their teachers and their friends, and yeah, we're heartbroken."
Twelve-year-old Jade Anderson, 11-year-old Jason Anderson and 7-year-old Jala died in a fire at their home at Gen. Pershing and S. Miro streets – just across the street from their school. Their mother, 33-year old Christina Squire, and their grandmother, 77-year-old Martha Anderson were also killed.
Firefighters returned after their shifts Tuesday to cover up the worst of the damage with plywood.
Parent Irene Cargo knew returning to campus would be tough.
"It was hard getting up this morning to come here to see this because it's just sad, real sad for kids," Cargo said. "And I understand, because if this was my situation, I'd be the same way. It's hard to come here, very hard."
More than 40 grief counselors spent the day at the school, sitting in the classrooms and working individually with the students and teachers who were closest to the Anderson children.
At the same time, neighborhood leaders work to help the family say goodbye.
"I hate to say it, but the cost of the average funeral is between $5,000 to $10,000 per person," said Dr. Eric Griggs, commissioner of the Broadmoor Improvement Association. "I can only imagine that burden on a family of one, but in a tragedy of this magnitude, you can do the math. So all the help, all the help is needed and would be appreciated."
An account has been set up for donations.
PREFERRED METHOD OF DONATION: www.gofundme.com/wilsoncharter
Also, checks may be dropped off to Andrew H. Wilson Charter School or mailed to Darius Munchak, Andrew H. Wilson Charter School, 3617 General Pershing St., New Orleans, LA 70125.
The New Orleans Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.