Earl Bernhardt, Tropical Isle co-founder, dies at 80

Earl Bernhardt, co-founder of the iconic Tropical Isle bar and the Hand Grenade drink, reportedly died on Dec. 5. He was 80 years old.

Bernhardt, along with his business partner Pam Fortner, founded the Tropical Isle bar after the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and its melon-flavored signature cocktail served in an elongated neon green container shaped.

Shaped like a hand grenade at the bottom, cups are often seen strewn along Bourbon Street on a daily basis and have become an essential part of French Quarter scenery.

The drink comes in two varieties: frozen or with ice.

The bar expanded to five locations on Bourbon Street and has been a French Quarter mainstay for decades.

Longtime Tropical Isle employees praise Bernhardt for his generosity and treating them like family despite running a high-volume business with stressful hours.

His reputation extended to the local music community as his venues hosted many popular bands and musicians over the years.

Bernhardt was also known for his flashy dress. During visits to the bar, Bernhardt was occasionally seen wearing a solid gold chain with a Hand Grenade medallion around his neck.

Bernhardt was originally from Jackson, Mississippi. A cause of death was not disclosed.

A second line celebration of life parade was held for Bernhardt on Monday, Dec. 16.