NEWORLEANS-- It is not easy to be a New Orleans police officer during Mardi Gras. They spend hours, day and night, on duty along parade routes.
'It's really tough to get something to eat,' pointed out New Orleans Police Commander John Thomas. 'You have to get something to eat before going out there, because once the parades start rolling, you're pretty much out there for the duration. On the weekends, it is usally 16-18 hours.'
'The guys missed having breakfast early in the morning for the parades,' added Nancy Lytle of Adopt-A-Cop.
Eight years ago, Nancy Lytle began volunteering for a project that collected donations to serve breakfast to officers in the 3rd Police District where she lives, and she'll never forget what one sergeant told her.
'You know we went out on that parade route at seven o'clock Uptown, we came back to Orleans for Endymion, and then we had to go back down into the French Quarter afterwards, and Nancy thank goodness for that meal we had at seven o'clock this morning, because it is the only thing I had all day,' Lytle remembers him saying.
Now Nancy has created coupons for donations of five dollars or more to provide meals for officers in police districts citywide . The Police and Justice Foundation reports $1,700 was raised last year.
'The coupon and the flier basically says what district would you like your money to go to,' Lytle said.
You can find these coupons at Gulf Coast Bank branches, also at some coffee houses and other businesses throughout the area. And if there's an officer you know who did something special, you can honor them. Put their name on the coupon.
'And we do the best that we can to make sure that Mardi Gras is safe for everybody, and them giving back means the world to us,' concluded Commander Thomas.
For a copy of the coupon, go to the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation website at www.nopjf.org.