How Houstonians Can Help Hurricane Ida Victims in Southeast Louisiana Right Now — Updated
New collection locations added 9/2/2021 at 2:10 p.m.
Houston restaurateurs are gearing up to help with Hurricane Ida relief by raising money, supplies and food. Search-and-rescue efforts have started in the wake of the hurricane storm surge and up to 170 mile-per-hour winds that battered several parishes as the storm stalled out for six hours over New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The power is out in over 1 million homes and businesses, and by some estimates, won’t be restored for a month in rural areas.
In situations like this, rescue agencies, business owners and individuals from across the Gulf Coast are known for forming an ad hoc bucket line of help for whoever is in need. The Cajun Navy, for example, coordinates with local sheriffs to locate the hardest hit areas. As this happens, shelters begin to swell with people who have been stranded in attics and on roofs. According to volunteer Jordy Bloodsworth of the Cajun Navy, there are likely thousands of people still in need of rescue.
Under the circumstances, some Houston-based groups that have fed evacuees in the past are again swinging into action to help, while others are joining these initiatives for the first time. Here’s how you can support their efforts.
Fat Cat Creamery, 1901 North Shepherd and 1225 West 34th at The Stomping Grounds development: This ice cream shop is offering one free scoop in a cup to any displaced restaurant industry worker for at least until September 16. In addition, Fat Cat is collecting needed items at both the Heights and Garden Oaks locations for residents of Lafourche Parish, where owner Sarah Johnston’s mother and family live. The area was hit badly and Johnson worries that relief efforts will be focused on the bigger cities. Fat Cat Creamery is accepting looking for ice, water, batteries, and any other essentials that residents might need. The hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., Friday from noon to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Heights House Hotel/Night Moves Hospitality
Space Cowboy at the Heights House Hotel is also hosting a Hurricane Ida relief drive on Thursday, September 2. Participants are asked to drop off relief supplies including non-perishable food items, bottled water, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies, socks and underwear. Chef Lyle Bento — whose mother is from Louisiana — is serving free red beans and rice to anyone who donates supplies.
Space Cowboy also is seeking volunteer drivers to help deliver the supplies to Baton Rouge on Friday, September 3. To sign up, send an email.
Heights House Hotel currently has several guests who evacuated from Louisiana and cannot yet return. Some of the relief supplies collected on Wednesday will be donated directly to them. Space Cowboy is also providing a free meal to each hurricane refugee who’s staying at the hotel.
In addition, Space Cowboy and Trash Panda Drinking Club, both owned by Night Moves Hospitality, is offering a special charity cocktail through the month of September. A dollar from the sale of each is being used to buy additional donation supplies.If your Houston-based organization is also raising funds or contributing other needed help to victims of Hurricane Ida, please send us an email so we can consider your efforts and update our coverage.
No one group can handle the huge feeding effort alone, so again swinging into action is Houston Chuckwagon, a grassroots, informal network of chefs and bar owners , headed by Steve Sharma of El Big Bad, Ben McPherson of BOH Pasta & Pizza. Last year after Hurricane Laura, volunteers supplied 6,000 meals across the Gulf Coast.
During previous disasters, chefs from the Houston area gathered at a central kitchen and used donations to buy ingredients that could be turned into hot meals and sack lunches. This time around, the donated funds will go to El Cucuy Nola, a restaurant in Uptown New Orleans that is without power. The kitchen is equipped with gas burners and will be hooked up to donated generators so meals can be prepared. Sharma and McPherson are coordinating with restaurant owner Austin Lane. The funds will cover the food, food supplies, and fuel as well as help pay El Cucuy’s employees who will be preparing meals.
Last year Houston Chuckwagon was able to raise over $30,000 between efforts. They also delivered water, dry goods and nonperishable foods.
Houstonians are being asked for donations and transportation help. Coordinators are especially looking for restaurants to host benefits and raise funds. Sharma asks that people keep awareness top-of-mind by sharing donation sites with friends and family. He is also encouraging professional involvement by asking local businesses if they can make monetary donations or host fundraisers and promotions that contribute to Houston Chuckwagon or other efforts.
Avant Garden is hosting a donation drive for Houston Chuckwagon this Thursday, September 2, from 7 p.m. to midnight. It is collecting donations, food and supplies to help with folks in impacted areas. Half of the proceeds will go towards Houston Chuckwagon and the other will be in partnership with Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Anytime you donate this week, you will get a free ticket to that night’s event which includes Burlesque… The Short and Sweet Speakeasy night.
If you would like to donate items, please contact Bri Morgan or Hailee Trombley to request a pickup. If you cannot donate, please share this event to your timeline to spread the word. Monetary donations can be made via PayPal or at the Houston Chuckwagon website.
The Sauer Kraut Grill 734 Crabb River, Richmond: This German grill in Richmond is collecting urgently needed supplies such as batteries, rakes, brooms, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, new toys, blankets, tarps, tools, flashlights/batteries, personal fans (battery-operated), gas cans, first aid items, towels, insect repellent, gloves (work and rubber cleaning gloves), buckets and heavy-duty extension cords. Drop-offs can be made during business hours, or donors can call the restaurant at to make other arrangements. The Sauer Kraut Grill’s hours are Wednesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m. The restaurant stays open an hour later on Fridays (until 9 p.m.), and you can catch them all day Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Staff members are driving the donations to Louisiana on Sunday, September 5.
In New Orleans: World Central Kitchen
Volunteers from World Central Kitchen (WCK) set up their mobile kitchens on Monday, August 30, in the New Orleans area, preparing thousands of meals for evacuees and first responders, as well as people who have opted to stay in their homes without power or water. If you would like to go to New Orleans to cook or perform one of the many other supporting roles needed in a large feeding effort, go online and fill out the volunteer interest form.