Students along the traditional uptown parade route may recognize a few friendly faces in uniform as officers from the Tulane University Police Department
join forces with New Orleans police in an effort to secure a safe and happy Mardi Gras.
Tulane police superintendent Jon Barnwell
, who has maintained a relationship with the city's second district police force, where Tulane University is located, says Tulane officers are paired with an officer from the New Orleans Police Department and stationed near Napoleon and St. Charles avenues during parades.
“We did a study on where Tulane students go to watch the uptown parades,” says Barnwell. “Since 80 percent of our students live within one mile of campus, many of them flock to this area on the route.”
Barnwell initiated the collaboration by contacting the City of New Orleans to offer additional manpower during a time when the city is crowded with tourists and its own residents.
To prepare, New Orleans police prepped Tulane officers on Mardi Gras-related protocol and offered a few tips on handling the carnival crowd.
“There were things about enforcing that our officers had to learn,” says Barnwell of rules such as parade ladder restrictions and the rule against throwing items from the crowd toward a parade float. “However, the most valuable lesson was on professionalism.”
In the days leading up to Mardi Gras when parades occur daily, all New Orleans police officers are on duty working 12-hour shifts.
“It can get tiring working those long hours, but it’s important to remember that most people are just out to have a good time and aren’t trying to start any trouble,” says Barnwell.
Tulane police officers have their hands full on campus as well with the overlap of Spring Break (March 2–9) and Mardi Gras (March 4).
Barnwell says that most of his officers will remain on campus in preparation for an influx of non-affiliated guests as students choose to remain on the grounds during Spring Break.