Vigil held for well-liked homeless man who froze to death in Montreal
MONTREAL -- A small vigil was held in Montreal Friday for Raphael Napa Andre, the man who died on a cold January night while trying to find warmth in a porta potty.
The vigil in Montreal was the same day his family hosted a funeral in his home community of Matimekush-Lac John in Quebec's Cote-Nord region.
Despite the frigid temperatures, visitors in Montreal stopped by with flowers that they placed in a fence near the Open Door shelter and huddled around cups of hot coffee.
"Napa" was looking for a way out of the cold Jan. 16, as the Quebec curfew set in and sought refuge in a portable toilet outside of the Open Door. He was discovered the morning of Jan. 17.
Handmade scarves from Raphael's mother and grandmother adorned the fence during Friday's vigil.
Jessica Glazer organized the Montreal vigil and spoke about how Andre died.
"To die in a porta potty, there is no more disrespectful, inhumane way (to die)," she said. "It's so unnecessary... It's so unjust when we live in a city where every resource is possible. I just can't let it go unnoticed."
Quebec has recently relaxed rules for homeless people during the curfew, and they now are exempt from having to be indoors between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Andre's family sent a letter to CTV News with information on the life of Napa, the eldest boy in a family of nine sisters and one brother.
"When he was little he went up in the woods to hunt with his parents and grandparents," the letter reads. "He learned and he knew everything about life in the woods."
His family said Napa always took the time to send a text or Facetime to let them know what was happening in his life.
"He was funny and loved to make people laugh," the letter reads. "Raphael Napa Andre had a big heart, he loved everyone regardless of their background."