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New Orleans distillery and restaurant shifts operations to make hand sanitizer

Every to go order from Lula comes with a side of something in high demand: Hand sanitizer.

NEW ORLEANS — Just over a week ago, Lula Distillery and Restaurant was turning sugarcane into vodka, rum and gin. Now, they're distilling hand sanitizer to help New Orleans fight the coronavirus.

Jess Bourgeois is the owner of Lula and says business is down by about 90 percent since the city mandated restaurants do takeout only.

“March, even without Mardi Gras, is traditionally our busiest month of the year,” Bourgeois said.

They're doing takeout orders for food and drinks, but they’ve found another way to keep themselves and others alive. Every to go order comes with a side of something in high demand: Hand sanitizer.

“We are very fortunate that we are able to make one of the ingredients that we need for the sanitizer which is so needed in the world right now,” Rocky Tingler, the Head Distiller at Lula, said.

Bourgeois and Tingler hope that making sanitizer sustains them long enough so that they are able to reopen and hire back their team once the outbreak passes.

“We are thankful that we have a way to pivot from going from just a restaurant and now we have the opportunity to help out in this way and survive in this way,” Bourgeois said.

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