Katrina Inspires Family To Reach For Dreams

A Bay St. Louis family says it took the worst natural disaster in United States history, but they've finally found the courage to follow their dreams.

"Russo's Family Restaurant" opens one week from Monday.

They told Danielle Thomas that in some ways Hurricane Katrina changed their lives for the better.

Charles Russo spent decades cooking tasty dishes at others people's restaurants.

All the while, he dreaming of one day owning a place of his own.

He says Hurricane Katrina was the wake up call he needed.

"Everything everybody went through, you kind of realize how short life is," said Charles. "I took a few sacrifices you know as far as not taking a job like that and came up here and started doing it."

Launching "Russo's Family Restaurant" is definitely a family project.

Charles, his two brothers, their parents and even the youngest generation of Russo are all pitching in.

Tony Russo is one of Charles' brothers. "Before this we all worked 50, 60, 40 hours a week and we didn't have even time to have family dinners and things like that. Now we're working together so I think it's pretty neat to work with the family."

The Russo family lost a lot to Katrina including homes, jobs, and valuables, but they say what they've gained is the strength and courage to reach for something more out of life.

"The storm kind of just pushed it and made it happen," said Tony Russo. "The storm helped us get this done. It might not have ever happened if the storm had not made it happen."

The Russos say Katrina taught them an important lesson: Tomorrow isn't promised, so listen to your heart and follow your dreams today.

Charles Russo is doing just that and now he's watching everything he's hoped for so long start to take shape.

He said "If you're not doing something that makes you happy then you're really not doing anything at all."

"Russo's Family Restaurant" is located in the MarkeTown Shopping Center in Bay St. Louis.

When it opens it will serve po boys and soups as well as offer daily lunch specials.