Mary Mahoney's Withstands Yet Another Storm

The coast's most famous restaurant was battered but not broken by Hurricane Katrina. Bobby Mahoney is already busy rebuilding "Mary Mahoney's" in downtown Biloxi.

The landmark restaurant, which has served its seafood gumbo to Presidents and celebrities, should be reopened by Christmas.

The oldest part of Mary Mahoney's was said to be built in 1737. That means the historic landmark has survived plenty of hurricanes, including Katrina.

"And we had one little spot where I think the Sun Tan roof might have torn into us a little bit. But the buildings survived just fine. And thank God they did, 'cause we was up on the second floor," said restaurant owner, Bobby Mahoney.

Mahoney and other family rode out the storm upstairs. Water front dining took on a whole new meaning. A sudden gush of wind and water gave the restaurateur a somewhat embarrassing injury.

"The pane of glass kind of went into my gluteus maxims. And of course I stayed on the floor for about four hours. Every time I moved, it started bleeding," he explained.

Though repairs will be extensive, the centuries old eatery survived the storm surprisingly well. Original metal tables and chairs were recovered. Local murals on the walls also withstood the storm. The restaurant's signature courtyard oak is scarred, but resilient.

"If you notice up there, you can see green leaves coming back on it. She withstood the storm. She just got pruned a little bit. But she can handle it," said Mahoney, pointing to the top of the historic oak.

Mary Mahoney's opened in 1964, just five years before Hurricane Camille hit. Bobby Mahoney also rode out that storm there. But after his Katrina experience, he says no more.

"How you wanna say it? I think I'm out of the storm riding business. I'm out of here the next storm," he vowed.

But chances are good his famous restaurant will survive even more storms. A 1979 newspaper he found in the restaurant shares the coast success story ten years after Camille.

"Hopefully, that takes place again," said Bobby Mahoney.