Isaac-decapitated statue to be repaired

Sept. 17, 2012 at 1:44 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Muffler Man, the 18-foot-tall fiberglass giant knocked down, decapitated and dismembered by Hurricane Isaac will rise again, his Louisiana owner says.

Muffler Man had stood outside the Auto Title Transfer Co. in Metairie the past 35 years. He got his name because before that he was a Midas Muffler shop advertising icon.

Up until Aug. 29, Muffler Man had weathered all manners of storms, including 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

"We always get nervous during hurricane season, but we never thought a Category 1 storm would take down the big man," owner Sal Mortillaro II said.

But Isaac got the better of him, sending the statue crashing to the ground, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Sunday. His head was found several blocks away. One arm is still missing.

"It really killed me to see it like that," Mortillaro said. "I said 'This really sucks.' I was imagining this big-ass head rolling down the street."

His father, Sal Sr., who bought Muffler Man for $500 back in the '70s, said he was devastated.

"My heart sunk. I protect him more than I do my own house," the elder Mortillaro said.

The Mortillaros plan to restore the statue, one of about 250 in the United States, and get him back up in front of their business, the newspaper said.

"My dad bought him to be noticed, and he is noticed," Mortillaro said. "He is a focal point, a reference point for direction, and he will be back."

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