Six Months After Katrina: Broad Glass Is Open and Optimistic

Fortunately, most of us will never have to deal with the overwhelming fact that our businesses get wiped out. Such is not the case for many of those on the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Katrina hit hard last fall.

But Broad Glass, a family-owned glass business on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans, is open and moving forward, making the best of the situation.

"Our building was flooded with 5 feet of water," explained Ann Duffard, wife of co-owner Jack Duffard (along with his brother Romain). "All of our equipment, phones and computers were lost, but we started working out of a truck three weeks after the disaster. Now, we still don't have any phone at the shop, so I have to stay here at the house where we do have phone service and it rolls over from the business number," she told glassBYTEs® in an interview yesterday.

"We can work out of the facility, but we're waiting for Bell South to restore the service, and they've told us that could be another two months." She says though that the company is getting calls and has been doing some insurance work.
"We're a full service operation, and before the disaster, auto was 80 to 90 percent of our business. Now, it's about 50 percent. We relied on walk-in trade and even though we're on a main artery in and out of the city, we're not seeing that much foot-traffic," she stated. Before Katrina, the company had employed two additional technicians, but they had to evacuate and have not come back, and, with the lower volume, the two owner brothers are handling all the work.

"We do mobile work in the morning and clean up and work out of the shop in the afternoon," she explained.

"We're optimistic. You have to be," she said. "We're making the best that we can. We're up and open and hopefully people here in the city know that and the fact that we're family owned, and they will patronize us," she said. "The company was founded in 1964, and we're second generation. Everything was going along nicely until the hurricane."

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