Homemade onion rings, half-shrimp/half-oyster po-boys and the seafood platter are three of the most popular orders at Lil' Rays in Long Beach, according to Kristy Nicaud, part-owner who shares the responsibility with her brother, Trey.
   Since Dec. 1, the eatery has been serving its favorites and more after recovering from storm damage. Hurricane Katrina peeled back the roof and dumped a pile of debris so high it covered the front door. The storm also flooded the homes of the family, which has been in the restaurant business from Waveland to Gulfport for more than 38 years.
   "There was not a home in our whole family to come home to," Nicaud said. Out of six Kidd siblings and their children living in South Mississippi, including Nicaud's dad, Ray Kidd, owner of Lil' Rays Waveland, and her uncle, David Kidd, owner of Lil' Rays Gulfport, not one house escaped being flooded.
   "We called Morris Johnson, the contractor who remodeled for our grand opening in 2001, and he immediately went to work on the restaurant," Nicaud said. "Then we went to work rebuilding our family security. We needed our families to feel secure and in a home with a routine. We needed to get our children back in school."
   Upon returning to South Mississippi 10 days after Katrina, Nicaud said she felt she was in a war zone. "City Alderman Allen Holder walked us to the barbed wire, and from there a local fireman, Pete McGoey, escorted us through the rubble to our building," she said. "The city was very good and very protective of all our businesses."
   Though the Long Beach restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday, Nicaud said staffing shortages have limited the dinner hours to just Wednesday through Friday. Owners look forward to opening full time in the future.
   "We are proud to be a part of this community," said Nicaud.