Belgian native living in NOLA not surprised by attack - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Belgian native living in NOLA not surprised by attack

Bar owner Polly Watts plans to visit Brussels next month. (FOX 8 Photo) Bar owner Polly Watts plans to visit Brussels next month. (FOX 8 Photo)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Belgian natives living in New Orleans say they feel helpless watching the terror at home.

Despite living in New Orleans for 32 years, bar owner Patrick Van Hoorebeek still has strong ties to his native country.

“I’m so blessed that my friends and everyone that I know in Belgium, they're all safe. That’s kind of a relief,” Van Hoorebeek said Tuesday.

The NOLA transplant watched the aftermath of the terror attack unfold on television. One video showing the panic inside the Brussels airport after the attack, was captured by Jef Versele, a friend of Avenue Pub owner Polly Watts.

“Wrong place, wrong time, but he was lucky and not incredibly close to the blast,” Watts said. “Another one of our brewers, in Brussels, his wife was in the train station and she's OK, she's not injured, but obviously very shook up.”

Watts and her staff are flying to Brussels next month to visit with Versele and other brewers, the men and women who supply the beer to the St. Charles Avenue bar.

“Is it dangerous? Yeah. But so are a lot of things, and I’m certainly not going to change my plans,” Watts said.

The attack occurred in a city where just last week, Europe's most wanted man, a suspect in the Paris terror attack, was arrested. For months, Belgian authorities have been cracking down on terror threats there.

“Everyone knew that sometime, something is going to happen,” Van Hoorebeek said. 

Now that it has, he said it's time to stand tall and send a message to ISIS.

“The whole world needs to realize that we cannot be afraid of them. We need to show them we're not afraid of them because if we're afraid of them, that’s what they want,” Van Hoorebeek said.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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