Muffler Man - A King (Gone)
Arm Position: Standard
Accessories: King's Crown
Oct. 2013: confirmed gone; had been decapitated and down after a 2013 hurricane.
Report from Sal, Owner of the Metairie Muffler Man
"He was originally a Midas muffler man in New Orleans when he was put up for adoption in 1974. In responding to the newspaper ad, the price was increased three times from $300, to $400, to a final price of $500 -- all within a five hour period.
I would not part with him for any (and I mean any) amount of money.
Grown-ups quite often come into my auto insurance and title transfer business as customers and relay the stories about how they took pictures in front of the big man when they were kids. They were often bribed by their parents to be good if they wanted to go see the big man. As a landmark, people who respond to my yellow page ad know exactly where I am, even if they live 50-60 miles away.
People (I guess teenagers) often try to decorate him. Sometimes funny, sometime lewdly. A stuffed dog was hanging in a noose one day from the man's arm.
During hurricane season, he is the first thing that I want to tie down securely. I always keep my eyes open for a replacement that I can store just in case I lose him to a hurricane.
Originally, the local subdivision organization tried to have him removed. the Parish(county) classified him as a landmark, and now I am not bothered." [6/14/98]
A further testimony to his resilience. During Hurricane Katrina, when winds toppled signs, trees and water flooded through broken levees, the King of the Muffler Men stood fast. We noticed him on national TV on Sept. 1, 2005, standing behind Brian Williams while everything else was in tatters. When they came back from commercial break, the camera angle had been conspicuously adjusted (Producer: "Psst... Get the big smiling white guy with the crown out of the shot!").
The King's crown was finally knocked off by Hurricane Isaac in late August 2012. And not just the crown, but the King's entire head and one of his arms as well. The King was toppled in the fierce storm, but his owner has vowed to reattach the King's severed body parts and get the King back up as quickly as possible.