Help in finding lost children during Mardi Gras

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 9, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 9 at 11:01 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

NEW ORLEANS-- As the Carnival season reaches its peak in the next several days, thousands of people will line the parade routes. For those along the Uptown parade route, there will be extra measures in place to make sure children who get lost in the crowds are reunited with their families.

With dazzling floats, rocking bands and lots of people, Lindsay and Joe Dawson know they have to keep a close eye on their daughter at Carnival parades.

"It's definitely getting more challenging as she's getting older. Of course, she likes to run around, wants to go up and see everybody," Lindsay Dawson said. "So, we just try and make sure that as the parade starts, that one of us is holding her, either on our shoulders or we'll bring a ladder out and have her up there."

It's a parents' fear to lose sight of their child and it's one of the reasons "Operation Lost Child" is now set up along the Uptown parade route.

"This is a central point, where people can come and if they're kids are lost, we'll have them safe and sound," said Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

Sheriff Gusman said a special reserve deputy unit will be manning the post at Louisiana and St. Charles Avenues to help any lost children. Parents along the route say it is not hard for children to get separated from them.
 
"I have been separated from this little one, Mary, and because she's short, we can't always see her when she's mixed in with adults, we can't find her, because she'll run up along the parades," said Julia Evans, a parent of two children.

"We're pretty good about keeping an eye on her," said Joe Dawson, about his toddler. "As you can see, she's a handful. She moves around quite a bit."

"We're here as a stop gap measure," Sheriff Gusman said. "You know, the best thing you can do is to make sure you keep your kids around you, keep them close to you, always keep an eye on them, don't let them chase the parade."

The Sheriff's Office said, in past years, as many as a dozen children have ended up at the "Operation Lost Kids" post to be reunited with their families.

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