NEW ORLEANS — The supplemental Mardi Gras security plan in New Orleans is still a work in progress.
But Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson has said there is enough interest from law enforcement across the state to be able to secure full parade routes this year.
Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said he's happy to help.
“When I became the sheriff some 10 and a half years ago, we didn’t have anything,” Seal said. “All the vehicles that we got, (we) depended on Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, and other sheriffs across the state to help us.”
Seal said after all the help his parish has received over the years, particularly during recent flooding events, his department wants to repay the favor.
The Northshore lawman is sending deputies to New Orleans to assist the manpower strapped NOPD protect and serve along the city’s Carnival parade routes.
“You don’t know how good it makes me feel for the Orleans Parish Sheriff to reach out to a rural country sheriff’s office and ask for help,” Seal said. “We are so excited to be able to pay it forward and go down to New Orleans and assist our friends there.”
Sheriff Hutson confirms the WPSO is one of four police agencies so far, to sign agreements to work New Orleans parades.
The others include the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, University of Holy Cross campus police and Tangipahoa Parish Constable's Office.
“It’s close to around 25 agencies that we’re talking to in this area alone,” Hutson said. “It’s really good. We look forward to getting more of those signed every day.”
Hutson personally lobbied state law enforcement agencies to help New Orleans carnival krewes return to their traditional routes this year.
She said her deputies will be out there as well as a deterrent, but if they have to handle something, they will.
“The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is going to provide the bulk of the deputies to supplement NOPD. We’ll have between 80 and 100 folks out there.”
Sheriff Seal said he believes it's his duty to help out, and he expects other sheriffs to follow his lead.
“We’ll be there to assist and to protect the citizens of New Orleans and also protect the visitors that will be coming into the city to enjoy the Carnival season,” Seal said.
Seal added his deputies will also appreciate the pay the city is offering.
That’s $50 an hour before Fat Tuesday and $75 an hour on Mardi Gras.