MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast.

To date, the hurricane is still one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the country’s history.

Andrel Lawson is the dining room manager at The Original Oyster House and has been a part of the restaurant’s staff for thirty years. 17 years later, Lawson vividly recalls the day Katrina made landfall in Mobile.

“I’ve never seen destruction like this,” said Lawson. “I mean she cleared the entire restaurant downstairs, took it completely out. That was a scary force.”

Lawson said Katrina destroyed much of The Original Oyster House building, which was then located at the now Cafe Del Rio.

“We already knew she was going to hit New Orleans, but she had already engulfed so much water so that storm surge really put a number on us,” said Lawson. “[Hurricane Katrina] basically wiped out the entire downstairs restaurant and got 3.5 inches into the upstairs restaurant.”

Katrina made landfall on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, with winds over 100 miles per hour.

Louisiana’s levee system failed, leaving over half of New Orleans underwater. Surrounding states received extensive damage as well.

Lawson said the experience taught him and his staff to never take anything for granted.

“We’re just not going to take anything for granted,” said Lawson. “If it looks like it’s coming this way we’re doing every necessary precaution to make sure, everything is taken care of here, employees are taken care of, those sort of things.”

Katrina claimed the lives of over 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast.