Mourners placed bouquets, balloons, and Mardi Gras beads near the bike lane among the oaks on Monday along New Orleans’ Esplanade Avenue as plans for a parade were altered to include time for tears.

People who knew the two bicyclists killed Saturday night — and some who never met them — dealt with the grief ahead of Tuesday’s joyous climax to New Orleans’ annual Carnival season.

The dead have been identified as Sharree Walls, 27, of New Orleans and David Hynes, 31, of Seattle. They were among nine people hit when a car sped into a bicycle lane Saturday night, blocks away from a parade route.

First responders are on the scene where New Orleans Police Department reports that several people were killed and others injured when they were struck by a vehicle along a multiple-block stretch of Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (Shawn Fink/The Advocate via AP)
First responders are on the scene where New Orleans Police Department reports that several people were killed and others injured when they were struck by a vehicle along a multiple-block stretch of Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (Shawn Fink/The Advocate via AP)

The man identified as the car’s driver, 32-year-old Tashonty Toney, faces multiple charges including two counts of vehicular homicide.

“I didn’t know them … I drive by here every day,” said one man, who choked up before pinning a bouquet to an oak tree near the bike lane and walking away.

Friends told New Orleans news outlets that Walls was the executive director of Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, which provides financial support for projects in underserved communities.

New Orleans Police Department officers process a damaged vehicle after responding to a fatal hit and run accident along Esplanade Avenue in Bayou St. (Shawn Fink/The Advocate via AP)
New Orleans Police Department officers process a damaged vehicle after responding to a fatal hit and run accident along Esplanade Avenue in Bayou St. (Shawn Fink/The Advocate via AP)

She was also a member of the Krewe of Red Beans, a marching club known for light-hearted costumes that marches annually on the Monday before Mardi Gras. Their parade was to go on as scheduled Monday afternoon but club founder Devin DeWulf told The Associated Press that it would begin with a funeral dirge for Walls.

Hynes was a former New Orleans resident and Tulane Law School graduate who was visiting during Mardi Gras. He had been married for a year and was waiting for his wife to join him on his New Orleans visit, his mother-in-law told The New Orleans Advocate.

They died not far from where the Krewe of Endymion parade — an annual spectacle of huge, brightly lit floats and marching bands — had just passed.

Walter Rose remembered it Monday as a scene of bedlam, carnage and a futile attempt to save a life.

“It was a lot of screaming, a lot of people hovered around the body,” Rose, recalled as he recounted being at work in Canseco’s market Saturday night when someone ran in asking if anyone knew CPR.

Rose, who said he learned CPR techniques when he was an oilfield worker, ran out to help, joining two others in trying to revive a badly wounded man who later was identified as Hynes. “There was a lot of commotion, a lot of people trying to talk, trying to help.”

The accident held disturbing echoes of a night two years earlier when a drunk driver plowed a pickup truck into a crowd of Endymion parade watchers, injuring dozens.

There were fewer injured this time, but the results were deadly.

Police said the fact that Toney is the son of a New Orleans police officer will not change or impact the investigation, which the department pledged would be “open and transparent,” a department statement said.

Toney also faces seven counts of vehicular negligent injury, hit and run, and reckless operation.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.