REGION TRIES TO HEAL
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008
By JIM MUSTIAN
LAPLACE – Joshua “Nutty” McNulty, the youngest of the five men to lose their lives last weekend in a tragic boating accident on Blind River, had a well-known affinity for trucks. So fond of trucks was McNulty, indeed, that his family chose the St. John Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Airline Highway as his final resting place – the cemetery sits right across from the Rainbow Chevrolet-Pontiac truck lot on Airline.
“They wanted him to always be able to see the trucks,” said a friend who asked not to be identified.
Chris Scioneaux, a friend and former teammate of McNulty, said he was often envious of Nutty’s ride. “He always had
one of the best, man,” including a Chevrolet Avalanche with 24-inch rims he drove before his death, Scioneaux said Thursday.
McNulty, 20, was laid to rest Thursday afternoon in LaPlace. Family, friends, coaches, former teachers, classmates and parish officials came out in droves Thursday morning at the Millet-Guidry Funeral Home to say goodbye and pay their last respects to McNulty.
Indeed, the visitation turnout was so large that a line of visitors wound through the funeral home’s chapel and extended out the front door into the parking lot.
Two portraits of McNulty were displayed at the entrance of the building, one of which showed him waving – as if to wish his visitors farewell.
For McNulty, a life that was full of laughs and good times was just getting started. According to a family member, he had recently moved back home after attending Baton Rouge Community College for a semester where he lived with Patrick McTopy Jr., one of his best friends who was killed with him. Of late, McNulty had been looking in to getting on at a local plant, the family member said.
While the news of his death came suddenly and has shaken this community, friends and family members of the deceased said they take comfort knowing McNulty and his compatriots died doing something they loved: hanging out and spending time together.
Some of McNulty’s friends said they would always remember him for his sense of humor and loyalty to them. “He was always there for me,” said Chris Scioneaux, a friend and former football teammate. “When I was away in the Air Force, he’d always make it a point to come see me when I came home. He was really one of those people you just aspired to be like.”
McNulty will also be remembered for his laid-back style. Some of his closer friends purchased and then sported the same pair of white flip-flops that McNulty wore over and over again. “He always had those things on,” said Garrad Lodrigues, a close friend who wore the flip-flops Thursday with a sports jacket.
Teachers remember a courteous and well-mannered McNulty. Amy DiMaggio, the principal of Ascension of Our Lord School in LaPlace, was McNulty’s reading teacher from sixth to eighth grade. “He was always very helpful,” she said. “A lot of times, he would volunteer to help with things in the classroom or ask ‘can I get the door for you?’”
DiMaggio said McNulty was a fun-loving kid and a great friend to others. “Whatever he was doing, he was always 100 percent in the moment,” she said. In an interview, DiMaggio asked a secretary to retrieve McNulty’s cumulative file from his days at AOL. She began crying as she saw the progression of McNulty’s growth over the years – the file featured a picture from each of his years at the school. “I really don’t understand it,” she said. “But it’s all part of God’s plan.”
After graduating from AOL in 2001, McNulty attended St. Charles Catholic High School where he played football for three years. The head football coach at SCC, Frank Monica, said the team would wear an armband or patch on their jerseys this season to remember McNulty and the other young men who lost their lives on Blind River.