NEW ORLEANS — NEW ORLEANS -- Jackson Square was Sher Stewart's home away from home.
She set up shop along the wrought-iron fence that ring the square since the late 1960s, a member of a tight-knit community who helped keep alive one of the city's great traditions.
“It was … preserving something that was characteristic of the French Quarter: artists sitting in the French Quarter painting the French Quarter,” said Lee Tucker, an artist at the square since the early 1970s. “She was carrying on that tradition.”
Stewart, a staunch advocate for disability rights in addition to a longtime French Quarter presence, was heading home from the square on her bicycle last Friday afternoon when she was hit at St. Claude and Pauger, just across the street from her apartment.
Whoever hit her sped away. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital, but she died Sunday.
Now, police are on the search for whoever hit her.
Philip Jaynes, a fellow artist on Jackson Square, said Stewart, 74-years-old, never met a stranger, was kind to everyone and was simply trying to get home when the accident happened.
“It was just devastating,” he said. “Someone sent me the message last week telling me about her and …”
Jaynes trailed off, holding back tears. He had one message to whoever hit Stewart and sped away: turn yourself in.
“You took a life. It was not an insignificant occurrence,” he said. "So, you know, do what's right.”.