Trapani's returns to the beachfront in Bay St. Louis - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Trapani's returns to the beachfront in Bay St. Louis

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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

An iconic Hancock County restaurant celebrated a happy homecoming Wednesday. Trapani's Eatery reopened on the beachfront in downtown Bay St. Louis.

For the Trapani family, this marks a complete recovery from Hurricane Katrina. It's also an important day for the downtown district.

The Owings family wanted to be the first customers of the new Trapani's Eatery, so they lined up almost 30 minutes before the doors opened.

"We've been coming here since even before storm and we really enjoy the food," Bay St. Louis resident Glenda Owings said. "We believe in the Bay and we want to support any of the businesses that come back. We want the Bay to come back to its former glory."

Coming back to the beach wasn't easy. Katrina took the building, the utility lines under the road and even the road itself. Now all are back, and better than ever before.

"That took about three years longer than we had anticipated," said restaurant Co-Owner Jolynne Trapani. 

"We never, ever gave up our dream. We always said from day one when this restaurant was completely demolished we would replace it. We really feel like that this is the start of the rebirth of downtown Bay St. Louis."

Not long after Katrina, then-Mayor Eddie Favre said getting Trapani's back on the beach would mean Bay St. Louis recovery was near complete.

"When we made that comment at the time, it appeared that they were going to be the first ones out the shoot," explained Favre.

But Favre admits the recovery is not complete, just yet.

"It's one more business, one more step in the right direction. We have come a long way since August 29, 2005. But we still have a way to go."

For the Trapani's, seeing a dining room filled with old friends and good food makes the long journey worthwhile.

Jolynne Trapani said with an emotional tone to her voice, "My commitment, I feel like, to this community, I fulfilled.... To be back on the beachfront in Bay St. Louis, to us, is we're coming home. We're back home."

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