With $500 in his name, Brad Bohannan left Missouri with everything he had packed in his '86 Pulasar Nissan in 1995 and took off for the Bayou State .
After moving to New Orleans, he started working as a doorman in different bars on Bourbon Street and developed a passion for the industry.
Fast-forward less than twenty years later, Bohannan, a Waynesville native, is the owner of a country music publishing company and three bars in New Orleans, one of which will be featured this Sunday on “Bar Rescue,” a reality show on Spike TV that helps revamp struggling bars across the county.
But Bohannan said his bar really wasn't really struggling to begin with.
His bar on Bourbon Street, then named Turtle Bay on Bourbon was $500,000 in debt, but it was a brand new business and he hadn't given the bar enough time yet to make a profit. And it was money he had personally loaned the business.
Bohannan said that the show picked him because it wanted a bar on Bourbon Street. The show initially contacted Bohannan last January and swept in with their crew of approximately 80 people last October.
“There was a lot more to it then I thought there was going to be,” he said. “It was a long process, from start to finish. It was almost like shooting a movie.”
Taffer and his crew changed several things about Turtle Bay, starting with its name, which is now Spirit on Bourbon.
Bohannan said while there were several changes he liked that “Bar Rescue” made, not all of them were practical, including changing the bar's “specialty cup.” Every bar on Bourbon Street has a specialty cup and Jon Taffer, the show’s mastermind felt like Spirit's wasn't unique enough.
“I was promised the best cup and the best drink on Bourbon Street and he did give me the best, the only difference is that the cup that he made for me costs way $27 where my cup cost 75 cents,” he said. “There was a science behind it, but no math. Some of the things they changed just weren't practical.”
Bohannan said that while the show did change a lot of things he didn't like, they did respect his wishes at the end of the day.
“They changed a lot of things that at the end of the day, wasn't to my standard. I will give them credit that every time I would tell them to fix something they would do it. That was honorable on their part. The crew did come through.”
All-in-all, Bohannan was glad he did the show and is looking forward to it's premiere.
“It was an exciting opportunity,” he said. “I know the power of that media and there is just no way I could buy the millions of dollars of advertising that they could provide. It would take me eight years to gain the kind of popularity that takes this show to do.”
Watch Bohannan this Sunday on “Bar Rescue” at 9 p.m on Spike TV.