Gulfport Bar Owners Prepare To Return To Business On Courthouse Road

It started with man's passion for a fruity frozen concoction with a kick.

"There was no Daiquiri's on the coast," says Marla McCarthy, about her husband John. "He lived in Panama City and worked there for years and thought it would be something nice here that people would enjoy."

Since 1990 people have enjoyed cold drinks and good times at Orangutang's, until Hurricane Katrina destroyed John and Marla McCarthy's old beach view location.

"We were left basically with a shell that we didn't think we could work with," says Marla.

A local contractor convinced them otherwise, and soon, a new and better Oranqutang's would arise on the paw print the old one.

"Orangutangs has been around so long, says John. "Everybody just want's to come back home."

They're just days away from becoming one of the first businesses back in business in this once bustling area of Canal Road.

"Especially when we came here right after the storm it was very quiet," says Marla of their still desolate surroundings. "But we never had a second thought not to."

Tables and chairs, wide screen TV's, Pool tables, and a brighter design theme will greet customers in the new Orangutang's.

"Everybody had to look at something so ugly for the longest time," says Marla. "We said you know what. Lets make it fun. At first people walk in the door and say, oh, this sure is yellow. I'm like yeah but your happy aren't you?"

Marla says providing a happy diversion to the daily grind is what Orangutang's has always been about.

"Some our good friends and customers stop by every day waiting for us to open. They're excited for us."

And they hope they're example will encourage other business to get excited about returning to this area devastated by Katrina but not destroyed.

"Hopefully others will follow suit." says Marla. "It's scary to be the first, but it's also exciting to be the first. We're proud of it.""