NEW ORLEANS – Volunteers with local group Cops 8 are working hard to give back, making sure police can eat a good meal during long Mardi Gras shifts.

French Quarter artist Adrian Fulton is creating a huge mural inside the historic French Quarter police station to honor officers.

“I’m trying to capture the essence of the French Quarter with the headquarters of the police department as a centerpiece,” said Fulton.

Fascinated officers watched Adrian paint as they grabbed a quick lunch. The meal was specially prepared by Pat O-Brien’s to thank officers doing extra duty during Mardi Gras.

“There is much heart in everything that we do,” said Pat O’Brien’s Executive Chef Marc Provo. “We’ve got red beans and rice today, we had gumbo last week, it was a big hit.”

The meals mean a lot to officers who endure grueling hours during Mardi Gras.

“Twelve hour shifts, and then on Saturday and Sunday they are working up to 14-16 hours, so this is huge for us,” said 8th District Commander Commander Jeff Walls. “It enables officers to come in, get a quick meal, and get right back on the street. It’s fantastic.”

Even though the volunteers aren’t the ones eating, they know how much it means to the officers.

“I see some happy faces,” added Ken Caron, head of Cops 8, a volunteer group supporting the 8th Police District officers in the French Quarter, Marigny and CBD. “I hear a lot of appreciation.” The volunteer group coordinated with French Quarter restaurants, donating 2000 meals so far.

“We had a great response from our restaurant members,” said Brittany Mulla of the French Quarter Business Association. “They are always appreciative of the work the officers do.”

“Cops 8 supports not only doing the food service here, but we support them with equipment,” Caron said. “For instance, iPads for the detectives, and we support them with office equipment.”

Cops 8 just isn’t around for Mardi Gras, the group helps officers year round.

“We need volunteers to put this together,” added Caron. “Secondly we could use contributions of food and products, third, most importantly, we could use cash.”

To help Cops 8 serve officers during Mardi Gras and year round, call them at 588-COPS (2677), or visit their website at http://www.cops8.org.

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