Popular donut shop demolished, but plans are to reopen 

Takeaway Donuts following Hurricane Ida damage.
Those driving down US-90 in Boutte this month may have found a bit of anxiety, depending on their particular sweet tooth – the building that’s housed the popular Take Away Donuts shop since its opening more than 40 years ago was being torn down.

Those people may rest a bit easier – the plans are still to rebuild, said owner Raj Jain, it’s just taking a bit longer than initially planned. 

Jain hoped to have his donut shop back up and running this year, sometime between the summer and fall – he said last year his optimistic hope was to be back by the late summer, if possible. 

Some logistical barriers cropped up with insurance and permitting complications along with some other issues, as well as a personal health issue that’s quite literally slowed him down – a knee problem has had Jain walking with a limp for more than a year, and his surgery is planned for this summer. 

“A lot of people have asked me why would I rebuild after already seeing it destroyed … last year I thought we’d have it up and running in no time,” said Jain. “Some things came up and it had to be, “OK, let’s slow down’ … but when things fall into place, we can get this up and running again,” Jain said. 

Both his business’ sign and roof were damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021.The hole created in the building’s roof seemed to be small at first, but the water that leaked inside caused more concerning damage. Jain said mold and mildew accumulated as the power was out for several weeks and prevented the issue from being addressed quickly enough. 

The roof and interior of his building eventually would need to be stripped bare given the severity of the resulting water damage.

In the first 18 months following the storm, it seemed Jain’s business might not reopen. As a tenant in the building, his insurance proceeds were minimal, and he said his longtime landlord delayed repairing or selling while she waited on the outcome of delayed insurance proceeds. In early 2023, Jain was actively searching for an alternate site to house the shop.

His landlord later opted to sell the building to local investor Mike Nabut, a friend of Jain and his family. Nabut went on to sell the purchase agreement to Jain, who had sought to purchase the site for years, opening the door for Jain to begin rebuilding efforts in earnest – and at its longtime location. 

“I was so happy,” said Jain, who said in a social media message to the community that  “our prayers were answered” by Nabut’s gesture.

Jain said Parish President Matt Jewell and his administration have been working with him through the obstacles. 

Jain purchased the donut shop from its previous owner in 1985 after working in the hospitality industry in his native India. He immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. 

“I was a young man then,” said Jain, who recently turned 65. 

Jain introduced his own donut shop version of the Mardi Gras king cake around 2000 – which quickly became a hit with locals. 

When Ida derailed his business, it was an emotional for him. 

“Oh, I cried. I cried about it. You lose something you love so much, it’s very difficult. My wife was emotional too. She told me, ‘If you rebuild, I’ll work every day!’” Jain recalled with a laugh. 

The one constant whether the shop has been open or not, Jain said, is amazing support from the community. The store’s status has been discussed rather frequently on social media among longtime patrons who are hoping to taste the shop’s delicious delicacies once again soon and Jain said the support of locals he’s seen since the shop’s closing has been uplifting. 

“For all those years, St. Charles Parish has been there for us – we couldn’t have had that success without everyone,” he said.

 

About Ryan Arena 3004 Articles
Sports Editor