MARRERO, La. — Bill Hall knows it will be nearly impossible to replace the general manager at his bar, Butt-Hedz, in Marrero.
The bright eyed, red headed Malinda Shano, who went by Mindy, was one of a kind.
“If you knew Mindy, you loved Mindy. She was just full of life,” Hall said. “It’s gonna take a team of us to kind of fill her shoes. But we realize we’ll never fill Mindy’s shoes. She was just larger than life.”
Friday, Shano’s co-workers served cold ones with comforting words. And with tears in their eyes, they slowly shared the news of the horrific crash during a motorcycle trip that Shano couldn’t wait to take.
“Before she left, I said be careful,” said a tearful Rudy Kosplich, a frequent customer. “Mindy was a good friend of mine, like a sister of mine. She took care of me always. And she treated everybody good.”
Melvin Thames, Shano’s minister, heard the news just moments after he arrived to grab a drink.
“It’s tough. That woman was very loved by everybody in this bar,” Thames said. “She just had a big heart. She cared for everybody. She was a big proponent of the motorcycle community. She did the freedom rides, the liberty rides from here to Texas, bringing fallen soldiers, police officers, things like that.”
Shano and two other people were killed Thursday evening in Arkansas, on their way to a motorcycle rally in Oklahoma.
Arkansas authorities say 29-year-old Ivan Santos crossed the grassy median in his pickup truck on Interstate 40 and hit the group of six motorcycles head-on.
The truck erupted into flames.
Shano and fellow riders Patricia “Irish” Lemar and Leonard “Cuban” Lemar were killed.
Four other motorcycle riders from Slidell, Lafitte and Gretna were hurt. Family of 48-year-old Larry Alexie tell us he suffered second degree burns and was released from the hospital Friday. He and his wife, 42-year-old Jennifer Couvillion, are still in Tulsa as of Friday night.
Also injured were 44-year-old Robert Day of Gretna and 49-year-old Derrick Reynolds of Slidell. We don’t know the extent of their injuries.
Some of the group were members of the Sisters of the Cross and Black Sabbath Motorcycle Club, which is based on the Northshore.
The 19-year-old daughter of Patricia and Leonard Lermar is raising money to bury both of her parents.
You’ll find a link to that GoFundMe page here.