Neighborhood spreads bicycle awareness one year after fatal Esplanade crash

Updated: Feb. 1, 2020 at 1:15 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Krewe of Red Beans and the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association teamed up Saturday to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety during special-events like Mardi Gras and Jazzfest.

Nearly one year ago, the Krewe of Red Beans suffered tragedy just days before its annual bean-parade when krewe member Sharree Walls and her friend David Hynes were killed by a drunk-driver after Endymion.

Seven others were injured in the act.

On March 2, 2019, Tashonti Toney was arrested for driving 80 miles an hour down Esplanade while intoxicated, plowing through several cyclists who were returning from the Endymion parade.

Hynes and Walls were pronounced dead shortly after.

Founder Devin Dewulf helped organize Saturday’s event and says while people are meant to enjoy themselves, it’s all under the umbrella of creating awareness for safe driving.

“Sharree was also a board member of our group and a friend of mine. She had been with our group for about four years, and we’re a small knit community," said Dewulf.

“And I’m a parent you know, and if something like that were to happen to one of my two children, this is the type of thing that you would want to come out of that. That’s our motivation, because I saw what their families went through and it’s terrible, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone else.”

Beaux Jones is the president of the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association and teamed up with the Krewe of Red Beans.

“We want this neighborhood to be a place where you can walk around, you can bike around, you can come enjoy the restaurants, you can come to Jazzfest," said Jones.

"This is not a highway.”

And with Jazzfest less than three months away, Jones says they are working on a thorough plan to present to the New Orleans City Council to include safer routes for drivers and cyclists throughout the area.

“How do we keep another tragedy like this from happening? So you have to think about how you build, you have to think about how to design, you have to think about how you communicate to people and about how they can get around.”

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