NEW ORLEANS —
A New Orleans man was killed Monday morning after being hit by a car on St. Charles Ave near the Lower Garden District, according to his son.
Robert “Hog” Blair was a staple in the area, known for his big personality, zest and zeal.
“He was a genuine person,” said Robert Blair II, Blair’s son. “He loved everyone. He brought adrenaline to people by just being around him. He brought the person who was having the (worst) day in the world, he brought them up. He was joyful and prideful.”
Friends say the 54-year old was riding his bike, like he did nearly every day, along St. Charles Avenue near Polymnia Street around 5:00 a.m. Monday when a driver hit him. Family members believe he was likely turning to head home when he was struck.
The driver stayed on scene. Blair was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced brain dead. He was put on life support until Tuesday evening, according to his son.
“It was very disturbing to see my dad like that,” said Blair. “I never wanted to see him like that. We made a group decision we were going cut his oxygen off at 6 o'clock this evening, put him in a peaceful room and let him go in peace.”
In 2017, bike advocates asked city officials to put a protected bike lane on this same stretch of St. Charles Avenue. They were unsuccessful.
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“The benefit of good bike infrastructure benefits everyone even drivers by making things clearer,” said Dan Favre with Bike Easy. It helps everyone follow the rules of the road more and really improves safety across the board for all modes of transportation.”
On Tuesday night, friends and family gathered at Lucky’s on St. Charles Ave to remember 'the Hog.' Blair’s son says he is just trying to focus on where his dad is now.
“I know my mom is up there waiting on him,” said Blair. “It’s going to be a beautiful time for him.”
This is the fifth person killed on the streets of New Orleans while riding a bike this year. Blair’s son says his dad always rode with blue and red lights on his bike. He hopes if people can take one thing from this it’s for bikers, pedestrians and drivers to always pay attention and to not take your eyes off the road even for a second.
A memorial ghost bike will be installed in the area of the crash on November 2.