My first impression? Her voice.
I like to meet new faculty and staff members, and remind folks at the beginning of each term that if you’re new, make an appointment to meet with me. Although I might not see them much I at least want to know something about them- who they are, where they’re from, who their people are, etc.
Somewhere around 2016, Sherri Marina began as a regular adjunct at Dillard, although she had taught here around Katrina as well. But she sent me an e-mail and said she wanted to have the meeting. And as soon as she walked in and open her mouth, I was like “Yeah, she’s the real deal.”
She was energetic, funny, and just regular folk. We probably spoke for about 15 minutes or so, but I can hear that powerful voice ringing in my ear today. And though she was an adjunct, she wanted to be involved in the broader campus. I found an e-mail she sent me in October of 2017 as she wanted to come to the dinner we had before the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performance (they were great). She definitely was in to the arts, so I am sure she appreciated that experience that evening.
Sherri died last week after a battle with cancer. She was very active in the New Orleans theater scene. She also was involved with Mardi Gras through the Krewe of Nyx. In addition to teaching at Dillard, she recently began as an adjunct at Loyola.
If you are reading this and thought you recognized her, you did. She was in the movie “Girls Trip” as the fan that catches Regina Hall’s character on Bourbon to take a photo.
And for fans of the new Starz original series, “P-Valley” (I love that show) she appeared briefly in episode 7 as a teller.
And yet Sherri was also committed to our students. I found this picture on her Instagram account, taken with our students and Dr. Eartha Johnson last December. Dillard has the oldest theater program of any HBCU, and one of the top film programs, so having someone like Sherri on the team was a great blessing for these students.
Sherri will be missed by many in the city, the theater and film community, and Dillard University. I’m glad our paths crossed!