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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

MADISONVILLE, La. - Rebuilding is ramping up, way up high at T Rivers Bar and Grill.

It's been in a spot along the Tchefuncte River for more than 40 years. Mike Benjamin bought the popular establishment, three weeks before Isaac ripped it away. But the business came back from Katrina and Gustav and Benjamin believes 18-foot high pilings will keep it up for good. However, it's been a hard-fought battle to come back this past 17 months.

'Between just trying to meet all the flood guidelines and building above base flood elevation and getting flood insurance and dealing with the Biggert-Waters Act and everything else, it's been a long road, but we're almost there, it's coming,' said Benjamin.

And no matter where he goes, people want to know about his progress on T Rivers.

Customer Shannon Paddia said, 'I grew up in Madisonville. It's on the water, they've got great bands, ready to drink and they've got great food.'

'All the locals get together on Saturdays and Sundays and enjoy the music and the drinks,' said customer Christine Revere.

That's what drives this operation for construction workers, who are also past customers.

Blake Barousse, 'I feel very privileged to have the bar back. Everybody in town loves coming to it. It's been a Madisonville icon for years. I think it's gonna be a good deal to get it back.'

People aren't just excited to get back to the fun times here at T Rivers, they're also excited to get back to the view it offers.

Benjamin said, 'To be on the water and have this view, you can't beat it. I don't want to get rid of it.'

That's how many feel, and they're looking forward to showing it at T Rivers soon.

Doors are currently expected to open at the end of March, barring any more major weather events. The second phase of rebuilding, an extra deck for outdoor dining, is expected to be complete this summer.

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