Rocheport businesses want people to rediscover the town
ROCHEPORT - It's been days since Rocheport won its battle with rising waters through the efforts of residents and volunteers. Even though the town stayed dry, the flood hurt local businesses.
"You can get to us, we're not completely flooded in," said Christa Holtzclaw, the marketing director of Les Bourgeois Vineyards."
The owner of Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop, Brandon Vair, said his business had to cut its staff.
"We'd be foolhardy to believe that we're going to be 100% up from sales from the previous year. So we staffed accordingly, just to mitigate the risk of losing money," he said.
Vair said sales are slower, but it is too early to tell if the floods will affect the whole season.
"It is not necessarily as dire as some people might think," he said.
Holtzclaw said Les Bourgeois' production is a little behind, but the winery is working hard to catch up.
"For a lot of our days, when we expect to see many people while the flood danger was happening, we were seeing a lot less numbers. It seems to be picking up a little bit," she said.
Holtzclaw said the main problem is people's perception that Rocheport is under water.
"People don't know how to get to us from the ways that they normally would, or they just automatically think: roads are closed, so I'm not going to go there," she said.
City Alderman and business owner Conrad Yates said Rocheport businesses are open and need customers.
"You can actually visit Rocheport, drive around for a while, visit all the businesses and not be aware even slightly that the city had a flooding condition," he said.