Coop DeVille sustains fire damage, students organize candlelight vigil

Scott Young, Staff Reporter

After the popular Jacksonville wing restaurant erupted into flames Monday morning shortly after 8 a.m., students of Jacksonville State gathered in the patio of Coop DeVille to pay their respects late Tuesday night.

Coop Deville, was a popular wing restaurant in Jacksonville, especially amongst the students of JSU.

Students constructed a shrine consisting of lit candles, a framed photo of the burning establishment, and even a student’s leftover takeout from the day before the devastation to pay respects to the fallen restaurant.

Jaylon Cooper, a member of JSU’s Marching Southerners who lives next door to the establishment, organized the event on Facebook, which he says originally began as a joke.

“This is low key a joke, but hey if you wanna show up and leave a wing bone or two, go ahead,” Cooper originally wrote for the description when creating the event on Monday, just hours after the fire occurred. The page was soon updated to read: “Update: not a joke, let’s show up and do this!!”

“Honestly, it meant a good bit, because it was fairly cheap food, and good food at that,” Cooper said. “This is Jacksonville. If there’s anything that describes Jacksonville, it’s this place.”

As more and more students arrived, it evolved from a satirical Facebook post to a somber memorial for a place that many Southerners say make them think of home. Students linked arms and sang a well-known tradition of the Marching Southerners, “I’ll Fly Away” to grieve the empty nest.

Guy Emery, the owner of Coop DeVille, attended the candlelight vigil and told students that he anticipates the rebuilding within “two to three months”. A crowd member exclaims, “We can wait!”

Anticipation of the reopening excites hungry students and gives them something to look forward to in the coming months. Through all the good times that Coop DeVille has given us, it’s safe to say that it has earned it wings, as it leaves behind a soaring legacy.

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