7th Ward native is building a delicious empire

Betting On Success - Larry Morrow

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Larry Morrow plans events that are so incredible, big clients like Drake and P. Diddy come back for more. Now, he’s gambling on a new restaurant.

But Morrow’s on St. Claude is more than a restaurant. It has become the place to see and be seen.

“You got a lot of people come post up,” Morrow said. “You might have Mary J. Blige posted or Kenny Burns.”

From Drake to Black Chyna, the list goes on and on. People are clamoring for a photo at Morrows. The booming establishment just opened in April.

“I told my mom, I said, ‘When the restaurant opens, it’s going to do well,’” Morrow said.

Morrow makes a living getting the word out.

"I have 60,000 followers on Instagram," he said.

He has planned elaborate parties for stars in New Orleans for years. It all started when he charged admission to his own birthday bash.

“Me and a friend of mine, we did a party and made a large amount of money, and I said, ‘I’m gonna keep doing this.’”

It turned into something big. Morrow says people come to his events because of the big names they’ll see: Floyd Mayweather, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne. Now his popularity is spilling over into a new frontier.

“When we opened up, I had a line outside the restaurant. We had a lot of people, a lot of support. It blew my mom away,” Morrow said.

His mother and partner, Lenora Chung, is an accomplish chef. The restaurant features dishes ranging from Creole, to soul food with a dash of Asian fusion.

“My mother was born in Korea and so was my grandmother,” Morrow said.

“I opened up Lenora’s Grill in Pontchartrain Park. That was a success,” Chong said. “My son wanted to be partner here. I thought it was a great idea to use his brand to launch this business.”

A sure thing for a young man who always enjoyed the thrill of taking risks.

“I gambled all my life," Morrow said. "I grew up in the Seventh Ward. I used to shoot dice. Shooting dice is something we used to do as kids.”

As a kid, Morrow liked to make money and found a way with dice. He said it made him numb to risk.

He and his older sister were raised mostly by a single mom.

“He was the only male in his family," Chong said. "His sister, his grandmother, myself and another sister. He felt a responsibility to take care of the women in his family. I think that that was his motivation.”

Gambling was his passion through high school. He dropped out of Tulane as a sophomore.

“When I turned 21 I started gambling in the casino. I spent two years of my life gambling in the casino, spending 10 hours in the day in the casino,” he said. “When I turned 23 years old, I lost a big sum of money in one sitting.”

To be exact, $35,000 in one night.

The first restaurant he started, Larry’s Po-boys and Wings on Canal Street, failed.

“That year of 23, I think it was 2013, the best worst year of my life. I lost so much, but learned so much more,” he said.

He had watched his grandmother, Sun Fowler, thrive in business. She owned the Ollie Food Store across the street from the Magnolia projects. His mother ran successful restaurants and catering.

Now it was his turn.

“I said, you know what? I’ve got to stop gambling where the odds are against me. I need to start gambling on myself where the odds are in my favor," Morrow said. “I went from losing money on the casino to making money with the casino, because I hosted my event with Drake, Diddy, Chris Brown and Lil' Kim.”

Larry Morrow Events hit its stride. The money was there, but there was a piece of the puzzle still missing.

“I remember one time I was trying to get a line of credit and I didn’t have any assets. I was like, you know, what I need to do? Something a little different. I need to own some things,” he said.

He turned to flipping houses. He loves to find blighted homes with potential and found an historic gem in the Bywater.

“It needs a lot of work, but it’s going to look like a million bucks when I get it done,” Morrow said.

But Morrow’s, his restaurant, is his million dollar baby, and his success has earned him features in respected publications from Forbes to Business Insider.

“It’s like, wow this little kid now a man in Forbes, Black Enterprise, all these publications - GQ. It’s pretty cool to know I’m able to be on platforms like that,” morrow said.

He’s put his story in a new book, “All Bets on Me."

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