NEW OLREANS — The iconic lighthouse is back on the lakefront and there are two new restaurants near it where there are spectacular views of the lake and harbor.
"I love watching the lake. I like watching the boats," said Carol Dogan, customer at a patio table at Brisbi's. "It's just very calming."
"Look around, it's beautiful, it's relaxing, we've got sailboats coming in and out all day," said David DeFelice, Brisbi's chef and general manager.
Brisbi's just opened Wednesday and Chef David DeFelice was amazed at how crowded it became right away.
"Pretty packed. I mean, it's been, I'm getting fresh deliveries here two, sometimes three times a day," DeFelice said.
"Are you worried about the competition up the road? No, I think that's great," Russell's Marina Grill owner Pavlos Petrou said. "Everybody is finally investing in this area. I think it's going to create more traffic."
Six restaurants sit just behind the seawall. Russell's Marina Grill survived Katrina, the oil spill and even the Corps of Engineers construction didn't drive customers away.
"Even when our parking lot was closed because of the construction, they just found ways to get here," Petrou said.
"Being out by the lakefront is a very nice, good environment," added customer Anthony Roselli.
This was once a hot spot with legendary restaurants like Bruning's, Fitzgerald's and Jaeger's. Katrina blew them away and now the Corps of Engineers won't allow new ones to be built here because the 17th Street Canal pumping station is right there.
However, restaurateurs are finding new locations to bring their customers close to the water.
"This looks straight into the harbor and you can see the boats coming in and out," DeFelice said.
"Young people moving into the area; it's non-stop," Petrou said. "It's a good time to be on the lakefront. Yeah, it's a great time to be on the lakefront."