A Louisiana Popeyes Restaurant Is Now Home to a Real (Live) Rooster

They even built him a coop.

A rooster; a Popeye's restaurant
Photo: Getty Images; Joe Raedle / Getty Images

A couple of months ago, a Popeyes customer in Louisiana saw something totally surprising as she picked up her order. "Y'all, why does Popeyes have a chicken coop by their drive-thru?!!!!" she asked on the r/NewOrleans subreddit. In the picture attached to her post, sure enough, a small red and orange chicken coop had been placed near the restaurant, right beside a pair of signs advertising their chocolate beignets and strawberry lemonade.

One commenter joked that the coop was an example of "farm to table or parking lot to table" cooking, and another added that it was to "control the supply chain." But a third wrote that the chicken who made his home in that tiny little house was "rescued after the hurricane" last September, and that the restaurant staff took care of him.

That seems to be the correct answer, according to WWL-TV. Muhassin Shepherd, the general manager of the Popeyes on Gause Boulevard in Slidell, Louisiana, said that a single rooster appeared the day after Hurricane Ida hit the city, and he's been hanging around ever since. "Where did the chicken come from, who has chickens around," Shepherd said, of his efforts to determine the bird's origin. "We looked around the neighborhood and they was like, 'It's not our chicken.'"

The staff at Popeyes decided to adopt the rooster. They named him Rocco and built that brightly colored coop for him. Eric Freeman, a prep cook at the restaurant, told Newsweek that he's brought Rocco some corn and a slice of apple pie out of his own kitchen, and that occasionally he gets to have dirty rice or pieces of a biscuit from Popeyes. (There's probably an unspoken agreement that nobody tells Rocco about what else is served just a few feet away.)

"I'll go out there during the break and he may be crowing or something, and it's just therapeutic for me," Freeman said. And of course the customers have noticed the brave (or oblivious) chicken hanging around too. "When I have my grandson, I roll down my window and I'm like, 'look at the chicken,'" Shannon Dardar told WWL-TV, before adding that Rocco was kind of like "the cow at Chick-fil-A, but [the] complete opposite."

Shepherd thinks that having Rocco around has turned into a real draw for the restaurant. Whether it's directly attributable to a Rocco Effect or not, he admitted that their sales have increased since the rooster arrived last September "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," he said.

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