Katrina Relief Gets Kicked Up a Notch

July 9, 2008 at 2:57 am

Originally Posted by Well Fed on the Town (wellfedonthetown.net) on July 2, 2007.

The Katrina-ravaged city of Gulfport, Mississippi, has a new place to go for vittles. On June 21st the Island View Casino and Resort completed Phase II of its construction with the opening of a beautiful new restaurant. The Island View is situated on the property formerly occupied by the Gulfport Grand Casino and is a major cog in the rebuilding effort along the Gulf Coast.

Thanks to the manmade drama in New Orleans following Katrina, the national media largely ignored the devastation in Mississippi. It was actually the Magnolia state, not the Big Easy, that took the brunt of the storm. The property damage in New Orleans, though widespread, was superficial compared to that of the Gulf Coast. The storm surge in New Orleans was around ten feet, the storm surge in Waveland, MS was 32 feet. Not a single edifice in Waveland survived Katrina. The entire town ceased to exist overnight. Flood waters recede but complete annihilation is a little harder to come back from.

Mississippians are resilient folk and they began their recovery effort the very next day, all by themselves. Despite far more extensive destruction, the Gulf Coast’s recovery is slow but astoundingly sure. The casino industry is back on its feet. The jewel of the area, the Beau Rivage reopened last year and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is about to open. And now with the new restaurant at the Island View the good people of Mississippi have something they can really hang their hats on.

The new restaurant is a magnificent tribute to the area with thousands of hand-blown glass bubbles hanging from the ceiling and a 4000 bottle wine tower that partially conceals an 80 seat private banquet room. The menu features “coastal Creole” cuisine a mixture of the New Orleans style food found just to the west and the local seafood and produce found in the Gulfport area. The restaurant is guided on a daily basis by General Manager Jason Lonigro a veteran of the Crescent City restaurant scene, and Chef de Cuisine Steve D’Angelo who worked in New Orleans and Las Vegas prior to opening his own place in Bay St. Louis, MS six years before Katrina destroyed it.

The name of this new world class eatery in the heart of Katrina country? Emeril’s Gulf Coast Fish House and it is owned by Chef/Proprietor Emeril Lagasse whose family weekend home in Pass Christian, MS was also destroyed by Katrina. Alden Lagasse, Emeril’s wife, was born in Gulfport and played a large part in her husband’s decision to build there.

Here is hoping all of the best to Chef Lagasse and the people effected by Katrina from the flood devastated streets of New Orleans to the decimated fishing villages in Alabama. God speed.


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


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