Why do Popeyes drive-thrus have an unusable balcony over them?

(NEXSTAR) — Next time you're in the drive-thru of a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen make sure to take a look up above. Maybe you've never noticed them before but the internet continues to wonder: why are there a seemingly unusable balcony hanging over the drive thru of some Popeyes restaurants?

The balconies are something of an affectionate running gag online, with many lovingly joking about staging life events from them — especially romantic moments. A frequent joke appearing in posts on X, formerly Twitter, and TikTok caption a photo or video of one of the balconies "What if we kissed on the Popeye's drive-thru balcony?"

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The meme is so popular that ahead of Valentine's Day in 2022, Popeyes even announced a contest for free chicken to the first 100 people to post kissing photos with the balcony in the background. The company made sure to warn customers against trying to get on the structures, however, saying, "What if we kissed on the Popeyes balcony? Lol not safe. Cuz while our love for chicken is real, our balconies sadly aren't."

Popeyes called the campaign "#FakeBalconyRealLove" and urged customers to only ever take photos with the balconies safely, saying: "Don't stand in any active drive-thru lanes or driveways."

(Courtesy of Andy Herren)

But this still doesn't explain why the balconies are there.

One user previously lightheartedly posted on X: "Why the f--- is there a balcony at every Popeyes that NO ONE HAS ACCESS TO? Like, it's just a f----- wall with the balcony and some of them got fake a-- windows as well?? LIKE, HUH??"

Turns out the answer is pretty simple and ties back to the company's roots in Louisiana.

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As explained by Mashed and Architecture + Branding, Popeyes locations are intended to have some Cajun flair, especially with colors and structures that pay homage to Mardi Gras celebrations. Architecture + Branding writes that Popeyes decorative balconies have been around for years and are meant to conjure images of New Orleans' French Quarter.

If you've ever been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, or just seen any Mardi Gras images, you know balconies are how some locals observe and/or participate in the festivities. Often, people will throw beads to people down below as they throw their own little balcony parties.

So next time you spy one of these green balconies in the Popeyes drive-thru, may the merriment of Mardi Gras help give you a lift. Moreover, if you plan to stage a photo — or even a marriage proposal — at one of the balconies, make sure to watch out for vehicles and keep all customers safe.

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