Shop Owners In Old Town Bay St. Louis Eager For Opening Of New Bay Bridge

Robert Sweeting's Balstrop Gallery is new to Old Town Bay Saint Louis.

"It's been difficult," says Sweeting. "Very difficult."

But he came here two months ago banking on better days ahead. Those days are now just days away.

"Everybody's geared up," says Sweeting. "We're all very happy. We all feel when it opens it's going to be great."

Dave Moynan, owner of Maggie May's across the street, says the opening of the new bridge has gone from buzz to blaring.

"That is about the only thing people are talking about," says Moynan.

He says he, and the other four formerly displaced shop owners that have moved into Serenity Place, represent the new optimism in Old Town.

"It's becoming a place to entertain, lunch, shop, going back to what it was prior to Katrina. And we're excited about that."

For Rosie Varuso, the very survival of Rosie's Nature's Cottage depends on the revival of this heart of the city.

"We're trying to make a go of it and help the community and do what we can to bring things back," says Varuso. "But we need the support of the people too and the patrons. Even if they just come and and show up and see what we have. We'd love to see them."

And she believes people will return to this unique community, made very hard to find by Hurricane Katrina for almost two years now.

"I've talked to people over there," says Varuso. "They're as excited about it as we are. So it'll be a real good community intervention here with everybody coming and all that we have to offer."

And that's a sentiment shared by Old Town shop owners both old and new.

"Ya'll come back," says Robert Sweeting with a chuckle. will bring you live streaming video of the bridge dedication ceremony beginning Thursday at 2pm. The bridge will open to the public at 4pm. Then from 4-8pm, Bridge Fest will celebrate the occasion. The free, public festival will be on the grounds of the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club. That's on North Beach Boulevard near the bridge.