SLIDELL, La. — Ordering a three-piece combo from the Popeyes Restaurant on Gause Boulevard in Slidell comes with a free side of a crowing rooster.
“He’ll go around to the front door, look around,” said General Manager Muhassin Shepherd. “He’ll go around to the window, the drive-through window and just look.”
Shepherd says the rooster showed up the day after Hurricane Ida and never left, leaving employees scratching their heads.
“Where did the chicken come from, who has chickens around,” questioned Shepherd. “We looked around the neighborhood and they was like, ‘it’s not our chicken.’”
Instead of shooing him away, employees named him Rocco and built him a coop. You can’t miss it in the drive-through.
“It’s a little funny. We wonder if he’s going to disappear one day,” said Fred Caro who was in the drive-through line Sunday morning.
While his fellow fowl is served up mild and spicy on the inside, Rocco serves up smiles to customers who are now flocking to see him.
“When I have my grandson, I roll down my window and I’m like, ‘look at the chicken,’” said Shannon Dardar.
“We come by and see him all the time when we get our chicken, we’d rather come here,” said Caro.
“It’s like he knows we’re watching him. It’s like he wants everybody to come see him, look at my feathers, listen to me crow,” said Shepherd.
While Rocco may be completely unaware of where he is or what he’s doing here, turns out, having a chicken hanging around outside a fast-food chicken restaurant, is good for business.
“We’ve been actually increasing sales and business so, you know, meeting a lot of new friends just to come in and see Rocco,” said Shepherd.
This store mascot is such a hit folks even show up to feed him.
“Almost like the cow at Chick-fil-A, but complete opposite,” said Dardar laughing.
“It’s just cool. I think he’s beautiful,” said Karen Foy who stopped by to feed Rocco.
Maybe looking for a job, maybe feeling a bit peckish, we’ll never know why he chose Popeyes. Whatever the reason though, Shepherd says it’s a blessing.
“That’s our guardian angel. Mr. Bill, who actually passed away, he’s a Copeland. That’s our guardian angel,” said Shepherd.
Because of it, employees and customers will keep loving that chicken.