‘We’re not here for any money’: New Orleans restaurateurs fight to keep their businesses
NEW ORLEANS — A handful of restaurateurs have launched an ambitious plan to bring back their businesses after the hurricanes.
The owners say they’re hoping their restaurant stays afloat through the storm.
And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their restaurants back on the road.
It’s a challenge that’s made some difficult.
“We’re going to keep working hard,” said Mike Davis, owner of the French Quarter’s Bar & Kitchen.
“We’re working with our partners and our subcontractors to try to get our restaurants back.”
Davis is a veteran of Hurricane Katrina.
He says his restaurant and a number of others that have shuttered during the storm have had to find a way to survive.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to go to a restaurant and tell them they were closing,” Davis said.
“I think that’s just how it goes in New Orleans.
They have to keep trying to stay open.”
It’s been more than two months since the storm hit, and Davis says it’s still very much an open question.
“It’s not like we’re going anywhere,” Davis added.
“There are a lot of other businesses out there.
We’ve had to try and keep that in mind.”
The restaurateurs say they plan to reopen as soon as the city can reopen, but the challenge is how to make sure they don’t lose the restaurants.
For some, it’s a long haul.
“For a restaurant to reopen in a place like New Orleans, you have to make it financially sustainable,” Davis told ABC News.
“You’ve got to have the financial means to stay afloat.
And if you don’t, then you don´t get back to the kind of success that you wanted to have.”
And for others, it might be a struggle to stay alive in a hurricane-ravaged city.
In January, the owners of the Italian Quarter’s Italian Bakery & Bar closed its doors after more than a year.
The owners say the hurricane damaged their property and they lost much of their stock.
But they say the devastation and lack of food are what made it difficult to close.
“You’re always going to have to have food on your plate,” said Davis.
“It’s an issue that really keeps us going.”
And while they say they have a plan to get back on their feet, the business owners say it’s not the end of the road for their businesses.
“If you want to be able to get your business back on its feet, you’ve got a lot more to do,” Davis explained.
“But I think we’re here to stay.”