Local businesses offer free services to federal employees during shutdown

Local businesses offer free services to federal employees during shutdown

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Those affected by the government shutdown can get some relief from local businesses.

For the hundreds of thousands of federal employees working without pay right now, a haircut may be a luxury put on hold. That’s why stylists at a Metairie salon decided to cut hair while also cutting the cost.

Top Knot Beauty stylist Adrienne Lopez said she wanted to do what she could do help those hurting during the shutdown.

“Luckily, I work with two other women who have huge, amazing hearts,” Lopez said. “And when I asked them if they would be OK with you know, donating haircuts to people who needed them in this time, they were excited. You know, ‘why, of course. We would love to do it, we’ll be glad to.’”

Even if they aren’t personally affected, they know people who are, stylist Jacqueline Eves said.

“It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart," Eves said. “I have a very close friend who is a government employee who is on social media asking for waitressing shifts and bartending shifts so that she can pay her mortgage, and when I read that, it really broke my heart.”

Former and current public service employees say they empathize with what government workers are going through, and Top Knot customers like Sheila Dalton and Kaycee Wright said they admire the salon’s willingness to help.

“Most everybody works from paycheck to paycheck. I mean, you can’t just miss one or two without suffering a lot,” Dalton said.

Wright said when she heard what the salon was doing, she “needed to share it.”

“And let other people know," Wright said. “It’s a good cause, it’s a great cause, and it’s great that this company is reaching out and just trying to help people.”

The Ruby Slipper is also trying to help out by offering free meals to federal employees at all 10 of its restaurants, which are located in Louisiana, Florida and Alabama.

“It all kind of came about when we realized the government shutdown was going to be a little bit longer than just a matter of days. We realized there was going to be quite a few people that were affected by this,” Frances Bodet, manager of the Mid-City location said.

The restaurant announced their generosity Monday (Jan. 7), and furloughed customers have been showing their appreciation.

On Saturday - day 22 of the shutdown - the Broad Street restaurant was packed with customers, including one group celebrating a city hall employee’s birthday, many of whom are currently going without pay, Nina Miller said.

“Several of our friends that were here, there were about 20 of us today, and they all, the ones that were government employees were able to eat for free, and I think it’s amazing,”Miller said.

Whether it’s a free meal or a free cut, these employees said they’re doing what they can to help others feel their best during this time.

And Top Knot Beauty Owner Jennifer Delage said it’s about more than just covering the cost.

“We all know how good it feels to get a shampoo, or to get a blow dry, to get a hair cut, just to feel good about yourself, especially during a time like this. It’s a lot, it’s confidence,” Delage said.

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