In a shop on Greenwell Springs Road at Flannery Street, members of the Mannino family gather around a steel framework. They attach wheels, a gas tank and engine. You haven't seen these guys on the Discovery Channel--yet--but they're experts at building American choppers, custom bikes built from the ground up right here in Baton Rouge.
Deep South Choppers is a family run business dedicated to putting the chopper on the street and a smiling rider in the seat. If you can dream it, they say, they can build it.
Chris Mannino says, "It's the satisfaction of building something that you know someone is going to enjoy being on and enjoy having. The other part of it is with the chopper craze, we like to give people the opportunity to get the bikes they're looking for at good price. I don't know anyone that can afford a $60,000 to $100,000 motorcycle. So we have them the opportunity to buy what they see on TV, and we make it very affordable."
The family's newest project--not yet finished--is a bike valued at $60,000. It will be raffled off later this month for the Lions Club to pay for eye exams and glasses for kids impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
For more on the Katrina Bike and Deep South Choppers, follow the link above to the Deep South website.