‘Earth will not be as sparkly without her:’ Community remembers woman who died in boating accident on Miss. River

The St. Francisville community is coming together to honor the life of 38-year-old Rachel Hann.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:44 PM CDT
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ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (WAFB) - The St. Francisville community is coming together to honor the life of 38-year-old Rachel Hann.

She died in a boating accident last week on the Mississippi River.

RELATED: Missing boater identified; boat operator hospitalized after crash

“She’s my baby sister, she’s my little sister. So, this earth will not be as sparkly without her,” said Breanne Hales, Rachel Hann’s sister.

Hann was the passenger in a 16-foot aluminum vessel when the vessel hit a moving barge in the Mississippi River near St. Francisville on May 30. Officials said Hann was ejected into the water and did not resurface.

Her body was recovered days later, a couple of miles from where the incident took place.

RELATED: St. Francisville woman’s body found in Mississippi River

“And so, while this is terrible, that’s worse. Not knowing if she’s coming back, not knowing what’s going to happen is so much worse. And we’re just so grateful that everybody got on their boats, all the search and rescue teams, all the people who volunteered their time, citizens just got in their boats and went looking for her,” said Hales.

Hann had only been living in St. Francisville for a short time.

However, people said she had already made a huge impact on the town and those that lived there.

Thursday night was all about celebrating her life with some of her favorite things.

“Rachel’s favorite food groups would be pizza, chocolate, boxed wine, and chips. She loved all of that good stuff. She was a junk food kind of a junkie, and managed to keep her skinny figure,” said Hales.

People wore pink shirts, which was her favorite color. And her best friends said, they even got matching tattoos of a camping symbol, during one of their girls trips years ago.

“She came back here, she wanted to be here. And she loved this community, and they just opened their arms to her, and she felt so at home,” said Annie Elliott, Rachel’s best friend.

“She wasn’t here for a very long time in St. Francisville, but everybody knew her. She made so many friends. And everybody she met, they absolutely loved her,” said Devon Anderson, Rachel’s best friend.

The group also released paper lanterns right alongside the river, which was one of her favorite places to be.

Her life was lost so tragically, it makes it a little bit better to say that we know that she was really, really happy when she went, and that’s a little bit of solace if anything,” said Genevieve Schaefer, Rachel’s best friend.

“I’m just so glad that she had as much love in her life as she did,” said Hale.

The boat operator was also hospitalized after the crash.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is in charge of the investigation, which is still ongoing at this time.

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