Truly Free Hello everyone. This is Erick Coughlin writing. I just wanted to give you an update. First, thank you all for the kind words. After all this time, it is so fulfilling to see people care. These last 3 + years have been.......interesting...... to say the least 😳. To be forthright, I really didn’t want to re- open. I have struggled with severe depression and other mental issues for numerous years. The sewage issue that plagued our location was a daily reminder......no it was the perfect metaphor, of the unchecked, unmanaged, unstable mental health -I struggle with. I used to hide from this truth. No more. What this time has taught me is that I really don’t care what anyone thinks about my life. What I do know, is that through constant effort I can manage it, and thrive. I realize that everyone has their own struggles and issues. I just got to the point where I needed to step away. I’ve had the good fortune of spending a lot of time in the New Orleans the last couple of years, and I’ve fallen in love with that city. I’ve come to connect with those in the food industry and have come to find there still is a void in the work environment. However, there ARE restaurants in Baton Rouge and New Orleans that DO treat their employees well. And to those I acknowledge and respect greatly, and that is where I like to spend my money , regardless of the menu. Unfortunately, those businesses are not the overwhelming experience for most employees. I want to change that. I want to provide an evironment that I get to invest in THEM. I want the staff to work 4/3. Not working more than four days in a row, and having three days off. I want my team to live their lives, have time to love, and connect with those they cherish. Not be burned out because of work. I want my team to be volunteers in our local community. I want 10% of profits to go back into the surrounding neighborhoods. I want to find people way more talented and better than I, and then do whatever I can to help them reach all their culinary aspirations. I want them to be happy. Can you imagine the quality of your experience, walking into an environment like that? I want to find innovators. For example; science has found a variety of mushrooms that erode plastic into organic material. What if they can prove those mushrooms are safe to eat?? You bet that process would be implemented and those mushrooms would be on the menu! I want to find people no matter their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, background, or age. I just want to surround myself with like minded people that are passionate about this industry. Passionate about the grind. In the process of taking care of them, I’ll be able to take care of myself and be the innovative person I capable of being. If I throw myself back into this marathon, I have to know that it’s about more than just food. I want to implement sustainable practices, both to my staff and with the ingredients. I have proven I can’t do this alone. However, you, our customers, have proven, somehow, that my efforts were not in vain and were even appreciated. I can’t say for sure when this will happen. What I can promise you is that I’m working on it. Know this, I was told by numerous chefs before Truly Free opened, that it wouldn’t work. That I didn’t have the expertise. That I would fail. Well. I really didn’t care about failing. I have already proved them wrong once. Now, I guess, it’s time to make it a habit. Let me “wrap” this up by saying this: I haven’t stated what will be on the menu, but with that type of environment and the experience gained, how could we possibly go wrong? Thank you again for all the kindness. And I hope to be connecting with you through my interpretation of food art both in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.