In Memory of Jillian Johnson

JJThere was another all too frequent feeling of sorrow this week as I read about the victim of a shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette Louisiana. Jillian Johnson, a 33 year old artist and designer who ran the Red Arrow Workshop with her husband Jason Brown, was also a radio DJ and roots music fan. She was the ukulele player in The Figs, a band who Gambit Weekly of New Orleans said “looks like a country-time tea party of pretty girls in pretty dresses, but it rocks, Cajun-style, like a roadhouse full of moonshine and buckshot.”

A former resident of Nashviile, television station WKRN reported on their website of her friendship and support of musician Woody Pines.

Musician Woody Pines met Johnson 10 years ago as he got his start on the streets of New Orleans, hitchhiking from city to city. She first became a fan, and then a friend.

“She posted a photo on MySpace saying, ‘Woody Pines super fan,’ and that was the first time, you know. We were just a small traveling band,” Pines said. “That was touching.”

His group often made trips to Lafayette, Louisiana, to play at the Black Pot Festival, and Johnson hosted them all at her home.

“She put us up, me and my band, always gave us a couch to sleep on; even when there was no couch, just floors,” Pines told News 2. “She was not a native of Lafayette, but people said she made the city cool.”

Pines was glued to the TV last night watching the aftermath of the theater shooting, not realizing Johnson was one of the three people killed until this morning.

“It blew my mind; it made me hold my hands to my face and say no,” Pines said. “I imagine being in that theater for a second.”

Johnson also designed Woody Pines first logo, and the graphics on the band’s first website. She was a musician herself, part of the all-girls string band The Figs.

This is what her husband posted on Red Arrow’s Facebook account, and there’s really nothing else to add other than to say our collective hearts and spirits are broken too, and our thoughts are with all of those who have been touched by Jillian.

Our hearts are shattered. We will love you forever. She was a once-in-a-lifetime gal. A mother, daughter, sister and a truly exceptional wife. She was an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur and a true renaissance woman. She was the love of my life and I will miss her always.

Thank you all for your kind words and offers of support. Our family is together now to mourn our loss. We would appreciate privacy during this time but your messages on outlets like this truly mean the world to us.

Our thoughts are with the family of Mayci Breaux. We mourn with you. And finally our thoughts and prayers are with Jillian’s best friend, who was in the theater with her at the time of the shooting. We love you and we’re wishing you the best!

This was a senseless act and, as is the case with all such acts, there is no playbook, no rules on how to cope. We’re trying our best to pull ourselves together. We’re putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you all. If you have a thought or memory you’d love to share, feel free to do so here or Facebook.

Red Arrow will be closed until further notice. Thank you all for your support and understanding.