New Orleans-area panhandlers staying open despite storm threat

Despite a dangerous storm system expected to move into the New Orleans metro area, local panhandlers say they are planning to stay open.

Panhandlers decided to remain open on a day when all schools and just about every business in the region have closed because they felt the “lack of competition” gave them a leg up and handout.

“With no place to spend their money because of all the closures, motorists are gonna have a treasure trove in their pockets,” said Everett Johnson, whose business, McPanhandle’s, made the Fortune 1000 list a few years ago.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and been through a lot of storms and people always end up on the street. Like I say, there’s an opportunity on every corner.”

Panhandlers throughout the city say they are prepared for the sudden weather changes and will keep hustling no matter what the storm brings.

“It is what it is, we live here,” Robbie ‘Squeege’ Wilson, owner of Panhandling Plus at Calliope and Carondelet, said.

“It’s New Orleans, of, course we’re going to have days like this so we can’t let it stop us. I was able to make it here, so that means motorists can make it here. I’d be devastated if a motorist came out here expecting to do business with me and I wasn’t here. There’s a certain level of expectation and trust I have developed with customers who rely on knowing I am here on this corner and open 24/7/365, no matter what, to receive their money, and I intend to keep that promise.”