For nearly four decades, Pass Christian has been home to Pirate's Cove, a well-known sandwich shop.|
When the LaMarca family took over the business in 1981, the menu expanded and word of mouth spread about the New Orleans-style po-boys, especially the signature gravy-dripping, hot roast beef.
Mike LaMarca joined his dad's staff after graduating from college and within a year, he met his wife, Dawn, at the shop, took a management role and has been there ever since.
"My dad knew how to make a business work... I also learned from my dad to pray a lot because it's not always easy and can be stressful on the whole family," said LaMarca. "The customers and regulars you see, they give you a lot of hope and remind you to hang in there when things don't go so well."
It was that very motivation LaMarca fed on after Katrina wiped the yellow and brown building off the beachfront property.
But it didn't take long for restaurant patrons to voice their hunger pangs.
"Everywhere I went locals would make comments and say, 'I need my roast beef fix' - even while I was in my yard cleaning," he said. "The public had missed it, so one morning I told my wife, 'Let's go to city hall and see what we need to do to open something.'
By December, Pirate's Cove was open again in a 12-by-24 trailer at 350 Second St., across from Pass Christian City Hall, in the War Memorial Park.
LaMarca said business is great even though the limited menu doesn't include any fried items and hours of operation are only 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
As of now, only four people run the sandwich business - Mike, Dawn, his brother, David, and David Necaise, a 22-year employee.
Eventually, LaMarca will rebuild but not in the same location. "It has weighed a lot in my decision in where to rebuild and I feel like I owe it to Pass Christian to build back... This is our home and I want to stay home."