Very sad new from Madisonville today: the Tchefuncte-riverfront restaurant Friends that's been closed since Isaac was destroyed by a fire Sunday night, hours before it was set to be demolished to make way for a new restaurant. According to the Times-Pic, the fire is under investigation due to what the State Fire Marshal deems to be 'suspicious circumstances."
Apparently the restaurant broke out in flames at 11 p.m. last night, about one hour after an employee party at the building had ended. St. Tammany Firefighters tell Fox 8 Live that "the top floor of the building was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived."
Friends suffered major damage last year during Isaac, taking on almost six feet of water during the storm surge, which also shifted the building on its pilings. The restaurant has been closed since then, and according to Fox 8, "electricity was not hooked up to the building, but a generator was used during the party." Wrecking trucks are already on the scene this morning, demolishing what's left of the building and its charred remnants.
8/13 Update: The Advocate reports that the building was demolished as planned despite the fire, "making way for a new eatery built higher to defy the rising waters of the Tchefuncte River." No word on any suspects as of yet.
· Friends Restaurant in Madisonville Destroyed By Fire [NOLA.com]
· Fire Destroys Popular Madisonville Restaurant Closed Since Hurricane Isaac [Fox8Live]
· All Fire Wires [-ENOLA-]
[Photo: St. Tammany Fire Dist. 2/Fox8Live]