Waffle Houses, which have become high-profile parts of the landscape along the beachfront, took a licking from Hurricane Katrina. This Waffle House at 4324 West Beach Blvd. at Broad Avenue was destroyed.|
"We lost seven down to the ground along the beachfront," said Waffle House District Manager April Dana-Rouse. "We got back up in Waveland in December and remodeled in Bay St. Louis and opened April 19. We're remodeling the flooded ones first and are moving to the others."
Other rebuilding schedules on U.S. 90 sites are being worked out.
Dana-Rouse said her grandmother lived two blocks from the Broad Avenue Waffle House and surveyors told the family the Katrina surge was 28 feet. "My grandmother's house is gone just like our Waffle House."
She said her company has a hurricane shutdown and evacuation plan for employees to leave the U.S. 90 locations and get up above the interstate.
"I talked to Civil Defense early, and we started closing at 5 a.m. that Sunday. All of our employees evacuated and all were safe," she said. "Thank goodness."
The Broad Avenue business had worked with the city over an issue of trimming the beautiful Live oaks, she pointed out. "We had seven oaks, and after Katrina the business was washed away, except for one booth, but the trees are still there. And now they are budding out."
Dana-Rouse, a Coast native and graduate of Gulfport High School, said it has been a long eight months for the Waffle House family. She's proud of her national company and promises, "We will come back."
- GARY HOLLAND