The Southland grieves for Paris

Southern California is grieving over the terrorist attacks that rocked Paris on Friday the 13th, 2015, and honored the victims with tributes and vigils over this last weekend.

Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) design student Nohemi Gonzalez was at the La Belle Equipe bistro with friends when she was shot and killed during the the attacks, which claimed the lives of 131 others and injured over 180 more. Gonzalez was one of 17 CSULB students studying in Paris during a semester abroad program. Over 2,000 people attended the vigil in Long Beach to honor her.

Design professor Michael LaForte said Gonzalez, " . . . had a thirst for knowledge and growth and had an extremely bright future ahead of her." Her boyfriend Tim Mraz described her as "the heart of the department" saying that she was always the first one in and the last to leave.

Her stepfather Jose Hernandez said on behalf of himself and her mother Beatriz, "She was a wonderful kid. If there's anything bad to say about her, I got nothing. Her mom, they were like best friends, they wee always together. Mimi is in our hearts. Mimi is not dead. Mimi is in Beatriz' heart today, tomorrow, and forever."

Consulate General of France Christophe Lemoine described Gonzalez as "an innocent victim of the abject Paris attacks," and presented to her "family, friends and professors all my condolences in may nam, and in the name of the French people."

Other memorials to the attacks took place throughout the city, including here at Santa Monica, where the world famous pier ferris wheel was lit in the colors of the French flag. Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown told the Corsair that he visited the French Consulate Saturday night to express his condolences. He will be traveling to Paris soon and said he "shall carry with me to Paris warm wishes, sincere sympathy, and unyielding solidarity from the people of Santa Monica."

All across Los Angeles country and throughout the southland, people paid their respects at vigils. LA resident Kim Crawford captured the solemn sentiment best, "My heart is broken for this beautiful culture and people."