KENNER, La. — Wayne Kendrick has been shining shoes with the New Orleans Airport for 38 years.
"April 12th of '84 with my dad and been doing it ever since."
Kendrick has learned a lot of techniques to make sure his customers shoes are spotless.
"I clean them first then strip them to get the dirt off then you get the polish shine and brush and put them in the rag."
Kendrick has developed a nickname: they call him the mayor of the regional airport, since he runs everything at his shop. Like many businesses, Kendrick was also impacted by the pandemic. He was out of work for over a year.
"Fifteen months. It was real hard you know we persevered and do other things to get bills paid."
New Orleans airport leaders say the pandemic has impacted them. A year later they are seeing better numbers compared to 2020. They say from the summer of last year they saw a 90% reduction in air travel. This year air travel decreased about 30% which means more people in the airport.
Plus, the airport is seeing new businesses like Nola Vino, a wine bar open, signs airport travel could be getting on the right track.
"We want people to continue to travel and do so safely, we encourage people to get vaccinated and get tested as often as possible and we all are doing our part to reduce the spread of covid," Erin Burns with the Louis Armstrong International Airport said.