North shore restaurant reopens 21 days after flood - without insurance

Bogalusa restaurant reopens after flood

BOGALUSA, LA (WVUE) - Five feet of rushing water did not stop one family from bouncing back after last month's flooding.

"It was pretty high in here," Zesto co-owner Marion Pierce said. "We probably lost $12,000-13,000 worth of inventory."

The Bogalusa restaurant is now adorned with a new water-mark line on its freezer to show how high the water rose on March 11.

The very next day the family walked through soggy bread and filth to make room for recovery.

"It left a mess just everywhere it rose. It just ruined everything," Pierce said. 
But in just 21 days, the Washington Parish staple opened its doors after inspectors gave the all-clear.

"This is the kitchen where we had to replace everything. All these cabinets are new," Pierce said. "We had a ceiling put in."

In 50 years, flood water from the rising Pearl River and Bogalusa Creek have flooded Zesto five times, and each time the family members had to recover with their own money.

"We're too close to the creek to get insurance," Pierce said. "This family has been wonderful to help us. Everyone has been here to help us. We couldn't have done it without them."

Zesto is the only business in the area to recover from last month's flooding. The surrounding businesses sit empty with vacant rooms and bare shelves.

"Everyday that I came to clean the bank, Zesto was filled with cars," customer Shannon Berry said. "They worked very hard to get it back up and running, and I applaud them because what else is open? What do you see? They worked very hard. It's amazing."  
Though the restoration may seem small-scale, what's rebuilt inside the four walls is much more to the people of Bogalusa. Its a sign of resilience and strength. And it's a reminder that when the waters recede, you can still find a little slice of home.

"Everybody was calling and wanting to know when can we get our hot dogs and chili buns and fried chicken," Pierce said. "We'd tell them we're working on it, we're working on it. The day we opened just word of mouth got the message out that we were open, and they all started coming."

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