‘It was the worst day of my life’: Family of 17-year-old killed while leaving party wants answers

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Just two days after her 17th birthday, a high school senior was killed by a bullet not meant for her as she was leaving a party in Gentilly.

As her family pleads for answers, they remain steadfast in their mission to turn tragedy into hope.

“She went out to celebrate, she went out, but she did not return to the place that she left from,” her sister Reyan Brimmer said.

Haven Lodge had just turned 17, she was beginning her much anticipated senior year and the football season had just begun. It was the night of the Jamboree.

“She got shot, I mean, she went to have fun and it didn’t end fun,” Brimmer said.

Just before 11:30 Saturday night, Haven was leaving the after party when NOPD said someone started shooting in the 5300 block of Franklin Avenue.

Her family says there were a lot of fights between teens that evening and Haven was not part of it, but she was the only one who suffered the consequences.

RELATED STORY: Teen girl fatally shot leaving party in Gentilly, NOPD says

“It was the worst day of my life. You know, a parent should never have to bury a child,” her father Harold Lodge Sr. said.

She was the baby of the family, the light and energy, the princess.

“Haven was so intelligent, Haven has so many dreams and Haven had so much potential. Haven loved the Lord,” Brimmer said.

She wanted to graduate from Net Charter High School more than anything and become a pharmacist.

“Although she can’t physically walk across the stage of the school, she’s walking across the streets of gold,” Brimmer said.

Haven’s family takes comfort in the thought that she’ll be walking with her beloved mother they lost nearly two years ago, Dorthea Lodge, known for feeding the community during the pandemic from her front porch.

“She gets to do everything she wanted with my mama. She gets to see her by herself and be the baby girl for real,” Brimmer said.

It’s their faith keeping them strong in the face of such tragedy. They also lost a cousin to gun violence not even 24 hours before Haven was shot.

“They don’t understand what they did to our family,” Brimmer said. “Our goal is to let her life shine so much that others can see that this is not the answer. This is not what you have to do. This is not how you have to live. There’s more to survival. There’s more to life. You know, taking someone innocent like Haven who was ready to go do things.”

They know people saw something and are asking them to step forward.

To the gunman, they have this message: “Give yourself up. Mother, if you know that your son the one that killed Haven, get him to do the right thing,” Lodge said.

Anyone with any information, call NOPD or leave an anonymous tip with Crimestoppers.

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