OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — The historic Toby’s Lounge and Reception Center was built in the 50s. For decades, it served as a staple in St. Landry Parish. But its time ended in tragedy when a fire destroyed the building Monday afternoon.
Tobi Doherty, granddaughter of the original owner, Toby Vetlin, said the memories at Toby’s were great.
“There is never a time I can’t talk to someone, and we don’t get into a conversation about it,” Doherty said.
Over the years, the lounge changed ownership but never got rid of the name “Toby’s.” Plus, before Toby’s was a lounge and reception center, it served as a camp.
“It was switched into a restaurant in 1953 and became Toby’s Little Log,” Doherty explained.
Monday afternoon, fire crews responded to the lounge after a call came from a worker saying they saw smoke. When firefighters arrived, the building was already engulfed in flames.
The dancehall and restaurant that stood on LA 182 for nearly seven decades was gone.
“Paw-Paw always had a dining room and a bar because he wanted everyone to stay and not have to go anywhere,” continues Doherty.
Doherty said that not only did she grow up next door to the historic site, but she also grew up inside watching her grandfather. She also worked there later on.
“They put me on a stool, and I watched the whole kitchen. I was then the hostess and cashier, then I worked the bar” added Doherty.
Her greatest memories of the building are the memories she made with other families who occupied the building from time to time. “Weddings, engagements, graduations, babies, and funerals,” Doherty recalled.
When News 10 asked what the building and memories meant to her, Doherty only had one word: