NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the family of Sharree Walls begin to lay her to rest, they’re reminded of how she lived with so much life and tenacity.
Her parents, Lois Benjamin and Cardies Walls, spoke of their daughter’s spirit during visitation at the Charbonet Funeral home Sunday afternoon (March 10), the day before her funeral.
“She just was evolving,” Benjamin said. “Sharree never stayed status quo, she just kept evolving, evolving, and I think that’s what lead to her success here in New Orleans.”
The 27-year-old was one of two people killed after police say Tashontey Toney decided to drive under the influence last Saturday -- his birthday and the night of the Endymion parade. Investigators say Toney struck three cyclists on Esplanade Avenue, before continuing on to hit six others across a three-block span.
Both Sharree and 31-year-old David Hynes were killed in the accident.
“I’m very angry,” Benjamin said. “I feel for her friends, I’m angry that her friend died the way he did. I’m livid.”
Benjamin said despite her anger towards the man charged with her daughter’s death, there’s one thing that’s kept her going.
“Her friends, her colleagues, as well as organizations around the city have rallied around us and we are so thankful,” Benjamin said.
And whether by her Krewe of Red Beans dancing in her honor, or hundreds of cyclists biking down Esplanade Avenue, Sharee’s father, Cardies “Dino” Walls, said it’s clear how much she was loved.
“Anybody would be proud of a daughter like Sharree, because she didn’t have malice towards anybody,” Walls said.
As a protective father, he said he was always present in his daughter’s life, even while living thousands of miles away in Chicago, where Sharree was raised.
“The last week I kept telling her, ‘You need to slow down on these parades,’” Walls said.
He said during one of their last conversations, Sharree promised him she would go to just one more parade. Neither of them knowing how the night would come to a tragic end.
“She said, ‘OK this is going to be the last one,’” Walls recalled. “And it happened to be her last one.”
Walls said he’s angry at the man who he says took her life.
“As he kept moving on escaping his consequences, he destroyed a lot of lives,” Walls said, referring to Toney.
But, he said as New Orleans has wrapped its arms around Sharree and their family, he knows she was happy here.
“I love New Orleans at this point because of the tight knit group she was with,” Walls said.
Sharree’s funeral will be held Monday at the St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. Visitation will start at 9 a.m. with the service to follow at 11.