Students, colleagues, friends and family gathered Wednesday afternoon to remember New Orleans educator Reginald Field. Field was 50 years old when he was shot and killed on Saturday, May 25 - one of 17 people police say were shot over a violent Memorial Day weekend. Students remember Field as being strict, but caring.
Reginald Field was dean of students at Andrew Wilson Charter School for four years. He worked with students on behavioral issues, and also coached a number of sports teams. He had a mantra, according to Andrew Wilson’s Head of School Lee Green.
"'Time and place,'" Green said. "Every morning he would say 'There's a time and place to do everything.' In the classroom, that’s the time to learn, in the gym, play," Green explained.
Field’s community gathered to remember him on the neutral ground in the Seventh Ward, near where Field was gunned down. Students remembered Field as a strict disciplinarian, but one who cared.
"We're really gonna miss him," Andrew Wilson eighth-grader Jamaya Clark said, holding back tears. "Mr. Field helped me become the person I am today standing before you guys."
"He wanted us to succeed in everything we did, and in life," another student Layla Wade said.
Both students described lengthy "morning talks" from Field, and a few suspensions he handed them. But they said he also had a lighter side. Wade described dance-offs with Field.
"The thing that everyone will miss was his weird clothing selection," Wade said. "His most favorite, a jumpsuit with the Timberlands untied, stomping up the hallway."
Green says Field loved music, but he didn't have the gift of song.
"He couldn’t sing worth a lick. And he wore the ugliest jackets in the city of New Orleans," Green said. "But he made them look beautiful."
Green wore one of those "ugly" jackets to the vigil - a pastel-colored plaid sports coat. He had bought it before Field died so they could match.
According to family, Field grew up with three siblings, raised by a single mother in a housing project in New Jersey. His older brother Amod Field said their mother struggled to make ends meet, but she worked very hard. According to Amod Field, all of the Field children grew up to work in education.
Field's family and friends called on the community to end violence.
"The hurt that must be going through that young man who did this to him, we come from a Christian faith, we don't hate him, even in this moment," Amod Field said. "I'm angry because this didn't happen yesterday...it's ongoing in our community."