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The original road where Griffin’s sits once stretched south on land that has largely vanished. It’s being turned into a boat launch.

“Recreational fishing has such a huge economic impact,” Griffin said. “People come here to spend money.”

The remaining land-based part of the highway is soon to be replaced by more elevated road. Griffin’s proximity to that road is key for the business, although he said he hopes the state scraps the project in favor of elevating the old highway.

“Whenever you have traffic you have economic growth,” he said. “Once they raise that up, everything below is cut off. It would be much more economical to come in and elevate this road a few feet.”

With oil industry trade groups urging completion of the elevated road, it seems increasingly a reality. Griffin said he’s been promised there will be an off-ramp at Leeville. But when he rebuilt after Hurricane Gustav and an ensuing fire destroyed the old store, he rebuilt 1,500 square feet smaller and 13 feet higher than before.

After rebuilding from hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and weathering the 2010 BP oil spill, which Griffin said decimated the demand for his services, Griffin’s now faces the prospect of being the sole attraction on a slip of land visited only by shrimpers and hardcore fisherman.

Vendors have been frequenting the town less, Griffin said, and wind insurance tripled when he put the store on stilts. But the 60-year-old entrepreneur, who said he leans on his brother for optimism, is not jaded.

“Sometimes you get discouraged, but we just kept getting after it and we’ve made a good living,” he said. “But you know, it’s not really for me. It’s a way of life, what makes Louisiana so great - New Orleans so great - is the seafood. We’re here to keep the bait shop open, the motel open, the restaurant. It helps take care of all of us.”


Information from: Daily Comet,