NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Katrina destroyed many things, however it never stopped one local restauranteur from picking up the pieces and starting over.
With family, friends, and hungry diners by her side, Celestine Dunbar found herself back home Friday.
"I really always dreamed of getting back to my restaurant," she said. "I feel wonderful, I feel blessed and very happy. I feel secure that I can make this work again like it did before."
Dunbar's was well-known in New Orleans, but like much of the city was severely damaged in 2005.
"Katrina wiped us out like everybody else," she said. "I had six feet of water and I lost everything."
Everything, except her determination to get her restaurant up and running again.
"I was really said," she said. "But I have faith that God would bring me back one day."
On Friday, more than a decade later, Dunbar's Creole Cuisine was back in business.
"The journey has been rugged," she said.
"It's going to do a lot for the community," said her grandson, Montano. "I couldn't sleep last night I'm so excited. "It's Creole food, once you try it you'll love it I promise."
With griddles sizzling and fryers bubbling, delicious food made its way to a full dining room. One of the diners was Kenneth Chambers, who came almost 470 miles to help celebrate the big day.
"This restaurant is an icon to New Orleans, especially for the people in Uptown," he said. "I got married in New Orleans in 1996 and Dunbar's catered our rehearsal dinner, so it's very dear to me especially."
Dunbar looks forward to bringing her flavor back to New Orleans, but says it's more than just serving good food.
"I would like the community to know that it's not all about money," she said. "It's about taking care of them. When they walk through the door happy, I want them to leave happy."
She adds, that her love of cooking, mixed with her passion for the area, she hopes, will be her recipe for success.
The new location is at 7834 Earhart Blvd. They can be reached at 504-509-6287, and are open for breakfast (starting 6am), lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Brunch is also available Sundays starting at 10am.
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