NEW ORLEANS -- Excitement has been building for months for Dr. Lisa Barbiero, who is set to reign as Queen of Krewe of Centurions.
Last Friday, though, Barbiero's focus and energy shifted to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"The innocence is gone and there are really no words to describe that feeling," she said.
The nightmare hits close to home for Barbiero.
A neonatologist at West Jeff Medical Center, she grew up in Fairfield County, Connecticut, just a few miles from Newtown.
"It's just a small, tight-knit community and just, your heart sinks, and, as a pediatrician and a neonatologist, to see all those children involved was more personal," Barbiero said.
Amid the tragedy, though, the Krewe of Centurions stands ready to help.
By opening up 150 additional spots for new members, krewe officers plan to help siblings of the young Sandy Hook victims, through membership fees collected over the next few weeks.
"The fee is $350 to be a riding member in the Krewe of Centurion, but the officers and the captain are donating $100 of that fee to a scholarship fund that was set up at the University of Connecticut," Barbiero said.
The situation in Newtown struck a chord with others across the metro area.
Local businessman Jay Roberts called Toys-R-Us and had 650 toys delivered – one for each surviving Sandy Hook student.
"I checked with my family, my wife, my children, and they were all supportive of myself and my company trying to help these children," Roberts said. "I thought if I could add a little bit of brightness to each child's life for one day, that's what I wanted to do."
For more information on how to help through the Krewe of Centurions, click here.