CHARLOTTE - Seven hours in to a 14-hour day, Lucius Johnson gets ready for the dinner crowd. His cajun restaurant, Bite Your Tongue, just opened in its new location in South End along the light rail. While they're still trying to work out some of the kinks, an important anniversary lingers, both for him and his wife Martine.
"Every year our appreciation for life and success just grows more and more and more," said Lucius Johnson.
With Hurricane Katrina about to make landfall, the couple evacuated New Orleans exactly seven years ago. They headed to the Charlotte area to stay with a friend and never left. They decided to rebuild their lives and their livelihood in the Queen City.
"We like Charlotte, we miss home a whole lot but we enjoy it here," said Martine Johnson.
Adding to the stress of opening a new business, is Hurricane Isaac. As it barrels to the Gulf Coast, they pray the new levees will hold and their family and friends still in New Orleans will be safe.
"Where we're from, these things happen frequently and so you always have your family and friends in mind and that's always a concern for us when it's hurricane season," added Martine.
While forecasters are calling Isaac a minimal hurricane, they say the images from seven years ago are still fresh in their minds, but are grateful for their good fortune and perseverance that helped them rise above.
"We could have been that family that didn't make it or that family that just allowed the situation to just beat us down and keep us down,” added Lucius. “So we're on a whole another level of appreciation in our lives.”
The couple say they rushed to get their new location open in time for the Democratic National Convention. If Hurricane Isaac doesn't do too much damage, they say they've been asked to cater meals for the Louisiana delegation that week.