NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Hundreds gather at St. Louis Cathedral for a special mass and blessing for New Orleans' first responders. Those in attendance Sunday morning say the event is also a celebration of the three lives lost in the line of duty, in the city, just this year.
"It's very important to us that we pay respect to those that lost their lives in the line of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice," NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison said.
The cathedral was filled as those in attendance remembered the three men killed this year. In May, HANO Officer James Bennett Jr., was shot to death while sitting in his patrol unit. The next month, NOPD Officer Darryl Holloway was killed while transporting suspect Travis Boys to central lockup. In July, NOPD Officer Vernell Brown was hit on I-10 after getting out to investigate a car fire.
"Sometimes as police officers, you become a target, a random target, for someone who is disgruntled with police officers. We honor you today," Archbishop Gregory Aymond said at the mass.
For the officers, EMS workers and firefighters who showed up; a special blessing, to keep them safe.
"As you are on the front lines, you are never, ever there alone," Aymond said.
At a time with frustrations amongst residents running high, over crime rates and slow response times, Harrison says it's important to remember these men and women risk their lives for the job, every day.
"There are always critics but the police department, EMS, the fire department, we are always, always responding to citizen's needs, we are always running toward danger and not away from it," Harrison commented.