March 23, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath


Our local roadside memorial is decked out in preparation for Easter. This suddenly sacred shrine is regularly tended to by Erica’s mother and other family members. I’ve blogged in the past about this place. Erica Vasquez and her cousin, Elias Sanchez were killed by a drunk driver April 30, 2006.


This year will be the tenth anniversary of this tragedy. The site has become a local landmark. The family adds seasonal decorations and periodic updates. Neighbors like me now look for the changes as we approach a new season.


There’s nothing in the place that would suggest it should be sacred or holy. A big lawn, old fence, cracked pavement, and telephone wires are what is most noticeable here. And the steady rumble of adjacent traffic drowns out all other noise. Yet every time I drive by or the few times I’ve stopped to photograph, there’s a discernable serenity at this place. The white stones and white crosses become the stage set for the wide range of left behind materials. Though always a bit jumbled, the effect is inviting enough to keep us noticing.

Intersection of MLK and Airport Blvd, Austin, Texas

Suddenly Sacred