MAUREPAS, LA (WAFB) - Seven months after Hurricane Isaac, the owners of a popular restaurant in Livingston Parish are finally ready for customers. They tried to open at the beginning of this year, but two weeks before Val's Marina was set to open, there was another disaster. But now, they are back in business.
"Are y'all hungry?" one of the waitress asked walking up to a table, Tuesday morning. "We been hungry for months," a man answered her.
There will be a lot of hungry familiar faces coming through the door of Val's Marina now.
Tuesday, the tables filled up and customers took a look at the menu. Ordering up seafood specialties they've been missing since August.
"The way you judge a restaurant is you eat their gumbo," said Jerry Fontenot. "If they have good gumbo, it's a good place to eat. And they have pretty good gumbo here."
It's the gumbo and a lot more that has kept Fontenot and a lot of others coming back.
"This is usually where we come most of the time to eat, if we're going to eat," Fontenot said.
Back in the kitchen, fires are under pots and order tickets are lined up.
It's been months since Anthony Gregoire has seen things this busy. That's because Hurricane Isaac put Val's out of business in August.
"We had five foot of water in back, almost four foot up front," Gregoire said. "[The water] went over out tables, turned our equipment upside down. It was a mess."
They rebuilt and had everything ready to open at the beginning of the year. Until a January rainstorm dumped eight inches of water on the restaurant.
"We had to take the walls we had just put up - take them back out and start again."
Customers say they've missed the environment, especially Thursday nights, known as oyster night.
Gregoire says during all the rebuilding, customers kept calling or just stopping by asking when to expect the reopening. For the last couple weeks, the opening date has been pushed back several times - for one reason or another, Gregoire says.
And while the restaurant has a new look, what's coming out of the kitchen will stay the same.
"We can't take fried shrimp and fish off the menu. We'd close down. Nobody would come no more," said Gregoire.
Val's Marina is located at 21162 Hwy 22, Maurepas, LA.