NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — One local distillery and pub in New Orleans is not letting a hurricane, pandemic or much less anything else dampen their rum-filled spirits just days after Hurricane Ida attempted to pummel Southeast Louisiana into extinction on Sunday.
In fact, Happy Raptor Distilling, which opened just weeks before Mardi Gras and the ensuing coronavirus pandemic last year, is not only alive and kicking, but once again enthusiastically opening its doors to its Central City neighborhood. But this time, its offering more than just a good time.
With Ida knocking out power to nearly one million Entergy customers in the surrounding area, Happy Raptor is offering critically needed water, along with amenities such as ice and charging stations for phones.
And with the local heat index soaring into the triple digits, Happy Raptor is also inviting those to pull up a chair in front of one of its two portable air conditioners and enjoy one of the refreshing frozen rum cocktails to escape the escalating temperatures.
“We opened up because we are all here, and everybody knows what it’s like when you are stuck at home with no power, no way to charge things and nowhere to go,” Happy Raptor Distilling co-founder and head distiller Mark Taliancich told WGNO over the roar of the AC units. “So we were all in the city, we got the business, we picked up a generator and we wanted to be able to give any kind of services that we can to people.”
According to Taliancich, the distillery located at 1512 Carondelet Street, picked up 160 pounds of ice and within a few hours were already down to half that. However, he said more is on the way, while also inviting others to use Happy Raptor as a donation center for those in need.
“We love working with non-profits,” said Taliancich. “So anybody that has donations or things to give and wants to use us to help store and disperse things – come on.”