Police shut down Waffle House operating during curfew

Published: Aug. 30, 2012 at 6:54 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2012 at 9:34 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish officials issued a curfew for Wednesday night into Thursday morning, but there were those who tried fighting it to find a place to eat or just escape the storm.

There were few lights working through Baton Rouge after winds from Hurricane Isaac and then a downgraded Tropical Storm Isaac knocked down power lines, leaving thousands in the dark, but one restaurant remained open late into the night.

The streets were bare through most of the city, but it was like a party at the Waffle House on College Drive.

"Four o'clock this afternoon, you could hardly get in the door it was so busy," said Karl Landry. "It was packed. Matter of fact, the waitress told me they had to lock the doors at 5:00 to be able to clean up."

It was one of just a handful of places open as Isaac's winds and rain lashed the Capital City, which is why Karl Landry visited the restaurant three times Wednesday.

"We're here for the food," said Leah Couvillion. "Our power is currently out, so the air conditioning and the nice break to have some food and to get together is really nice."

"I'm very appreciative to Waffle House for being the only thing in town that's open," added another customer.

However, there was one problem. With the curfew still in place, the restaurant was not supposed to be open.

"I'm sorry, they're closed," an officer said. "We're under a curfew for the town, so I'm going to have to ask you to go home."

The curfew is in effect until till 6 a.m., so officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department spent the night making their rounds and forcing shops to shut down, sending employees and potential customers home.

"No one told us, so we came here and they told us and we were like, 'Oops,'" said one customer forced to leave.

"It's pretty devastating. I'll be honest. I mean, it wasn't that serious of a storm, so we thought Waffle House would be open serving us hash browns," Couvillion added.

And, even though this storm hasn't been as serious as many expected, it did pound Louisiana exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina took aim for the Bayou State.

"Katrina was a lot more intense," another woman said. "Outside of losing power, this hasn't remotely been an issue."

A tornado watch, tropical storm warning and flash flood watch remain in effect for the area until Thursday morning.

Forecasters warn people the bad weather has not yet left the area. They said the threat of severe weather will be around until Friday.

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