Posted: 21 Jun 2010 01:01 PM PDT
It turned out to be much more than just a Father's Day gift from a dozen chefs at New Orleans restaurants. They traveled to Grand Isle's Bridge Side Marina to not only feed local fishermen and their families … lives devastated by the BP oil spill … but also as an act of appreciation for years of hard work "Today is a day of rest for you," Kara Pigeon of Signature Destination Management Company told the crowd. "You are not alone. We are here for you."
Organized by Pigeon, Executive Chef Matt Murphy of the Ritz-Carlton, and Wendy Warren of the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA), the event featured Louisiana staples like fried catfish, duck and andouille gumbo, alligator sausage, jambalaya and bread pudding. "I can't plug an oil leak, but I can cook," said Chef Murphy. "I can come and show them that there are other communities out there that care for them."I think this is awesome," said Grand Isle resident Wilson Bourgeois. "These people are awesome. It's nice to know we're thought about like that. It's a lot of people donating a lot of time and effort Bourgeois – a deck hand on a shrimping boat that can't leave the dock – said that seeing his neighbors was a mixed blessing of sorts. "This is the time of year when you don't see many of us unless you're at a shrimp dock. It's a way of life down here that's being effected… Right now we supposed to be fishing so we're all sort of lost. "But on this day, the sense of loss was lightened by a sense of community, shared respect and love among the people of southern Louisiana. The music played, the food was passed around the picnic table, friends and family greeted one another with hugs and handshakes, and if you looked past the military police, assigned to the oil cleanup, feasting on gumbo while leaning against the Community Coffee truck, it looked like any of the fishing rodeos that have made Grand Isle famous