Local hotelier and French native Rose-Aimee Butler heard about the horrific Paris attacks when a friend here called her Friday evening.
Since then, she has spent seven or eight hours a day following the tragedy on Chaine 24, a French television news station that she gets through Frontier cable service.
The Parisians and the rest of the country are coming together, she said Sunday night, just like they did after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in which several journalists were slaughtered inside an office building in Paris in January.
This time around it was innocents sitting outside of cafes, and inside a club enjoying a rock concert, who were the victims of ISIS extremists, according to news reports.
"There are 300 blesses (wounded)," she said, mixing her French and English. "Seventy of them, they don’t know if they are going to make it."
Butler has lived in Fort Wayne on and off for 45 years. She and her husband own a pied-à-terre, or small apartment, in Paris near Montparnasse in the 14th Arrondissement and often travel there. She voiced some concern about returning, but her husband, Clark Butler, a retired IPFW philosophy professor, told her they should continue to live their life and follow the French example of "joie de vivre (the joy of living)."
On Sunday evening, Le Figaro daily newspaper reported 129 killed in Friday’s attacks in Paris and in St. Denis and 350 wounded. At the Place de la Republique and in front of Le Bataclan, the nightclub, and the surrounding cafes where the terrorist attacks occurred, thousands of people came to lay flowers.
Today there will be a national minute of silence at noon for the victims of these terrorist attacks. Sunday marked the first of a three-day national mourning. Schools, cultural establishments, monuments and green spaces, including grocery markets, will reopen today, but the authorities will be undertaking heavy surveillance and vigilance.
"(François) Hollande and (Nicolas) Sarkozy are holding hands," Butler said in surprise, proof that political leaders from different parties are showing strength together. Hollande is the French president; Sarkozy preceded him.
Butler’s niece, Guylaine Delassus, a French jazz singer who most recently sang at the jazz cabaret at Butler’s downtown LaSalle Bed & Breakfast Inn on Washington Boulevard in July, was teaching at the Conservatoire de Paris (Paris Conservatory) Friday night when the first attacks occurred about 9:30 p.m. Paris time. Delassus had no idea the attacks were taking place, but the sirens were difficult to ignore.
A childhood friend of Butler’s who lives in Neuilly, a Parisian suburb to the north, was nowhere near the Stade de Paris or the cafes and restaurants where much of the killing took place. "I know La Rue Voltaire," Butler said, referring to one area where the carnage took place.