LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – The sounds of Louisiana culture can no longer be heard coming out of Blue Duck Cafe, after three years of serving downtown Lake Charles their doors are now closed.
"Honestly, my wife and I, it's almost like we lost a child," said Briant Smith, Owner of Blue Duck Cafe. "I love this little place. We have some very, very loyal and dedicated customers."
It is a heartbreaking loss for owners who struggled to recover after business began to decline last September.
Smith stated, "Since that time we've been pretty much operating in the red."
After giving it some time, Smith says lack of a customer base is what ultimately hurt his bottom line.
"Realistically people in south Lake Charles, when they go home at night, off Nelson Road, they don't drive back into downtown Lake Charles to eat," said Smith.
Smith believes there has to be something to draw people into downtown, and he's hoping the city can accomplish a way to do that with the downtown development plans.
While Blue Duck Cafe is the latest business to struggle here, another business Sha Sha's of Creole is optimistic about their downtown venture.
Owner Sherry Styron stated, "It has an atmosphere, an ambiance that you can't find anywhere else in the area."
Styron sees the future downtown development project and her business working to benefit each other.
"If this is just one little place that can shine a light and be positive, then I think it will encourage more business and like I said, more business is better business," said Styron
Smith stated, "We will never ever get downtown Lake Charles built up unless the businesses do come."
As for the future, Smith says he has over 300 recipes and plans to create a cook book that includes customer's favorite dishes.