The Howlin’ Wolf Music Club in New Orleans is stepping up to help the community after Hurricane Ida tore through the city. Located just steps from the Mississippi River, the independent venue owned by Howie Kaplan has transformed itself into a local hub for free meals for those devastated by the hurricane that threatened more than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Kaplan tells Billboard that his main focus since returning to the venue on Monday has been collecting, cooking and distributing meals to local residents who lost power and are unable to refrigerator food or cook at home. Due to a citywide outage that began on Sunday, local restaurants have also lost power and have emptied out their refrigerators and freezers by donating the contents to The Howlin’ Wolf.
"There wasn’t a grand plan to start the program," says Kaplan, who estimates they supplied 3,000 meals on Wednesday and another 4,000-5,000 meals Thursday. "Monday morning we came in, we had a few drinks because we survived a hurricane, and we recognized right then and there that something was going on but we didn’t understand the magnitude of it."