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Frostop mug's return a sign of progress in Laplace

“It’s a sign of progress, a sign of new beginnings again. Old times and new beginnings.”

LAPLACE, La. — There is a symbol of progress in LaPlace as the St. John Parish community continues to come back from last year’s Hurricane Ida. 

It’s been a painstaking process to rebuild and replace the giant rotating root beer mug in front of the Frostop on Airline Highway. Tuesday, installers worked to recreate the 451 feet of neon, that drew customers to the roadside restaurant for generations. 

“Ida threw it like it was a toy,” Terry Toler said. “It almost went two parking lots over.” 

Toler’s family owns and operates the Frostop which opened in 1958. They found the sign after the storm in pieces. She says it was important for them and the community to replace it. 

“It was quite the emotional reaction seeing it down,” Toler said. “To see it up, I woke up a couple of times last night just to look out my kitchen window to see the mug. I thought that the community wanted it back.” 

Johnson Duquet made a special trip to Frostop to see the mug and get a root beer. 

"It’s most definitely a sign of encouragement, most definitely is,” Duquet said. “It’s a sign of progress, a sign of new beginnings again. Old times and new beginnings.”

New beginnings in a community where Ida damage is not hard to find. Just a few miles from the Frostop, some LaPlace neighbors like Dana Jenkins, on Cambridge Drive continue to live in trailers, still haggling with insurance companies more than a year after the storm. 

She said seeing the mug back where it belongs gives her hope. 

"I think when you rebuild that and you put it up, you would get an opportunity to say, hey, we’re almost home, we’re almost back.” 

Jenkins hopes others see it that way as well. 

“I hope for everyone in the community that, that sign means as much to them as it means to me that this is what Laplace is all about,” Jenkins said. “Let’s get it together, pull together and make it home again.” 

Back at Frostop, Terry Toler says replacing the sign was her family’s way of thanking people in their community for 64 years of support. 

“They can see that things do come back to normal. It may take a while, but you’ll get there.” 

The family hopes to have the Frostop Root Beer mug lit up and rotating by Wednesday evening. The total project to replace the mug, pole and foundation is expected to cost more than $68,000. 

In a related story, St. John Parish is holding a Hurricane Ida Recovery and Resource Expo. It will be on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Regala Gym in Reserve.

Featured participants include FEMA, Entergy, LA Department of Insurance, SBA, Catholic Charities, the St. John Department of Health and Human Services, and the St. John Health Unit. 

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