What it Takes to Cater Through a Hurricane

Messina's Feeding First Responders During Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida roared ashore in Louisiana as a category 4 storm on August 29th.  It became the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to strike Louisiana, behind Hurricane Katrina.  It made landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The storm left in its wake more than a million people without power in Louisiana, widespread heavy infrastructural damage, and extremely heavy flooding in coastal areas.

Preparation is key in disaster relief catering

The Messina’s Catering & Events team, being a 3rd generation New Orleans caterer, has weathered many hurricanes.  While others in the community were evacuating, or readying generators and supplies, the Messina’s team was doing that for their own families as well as for their family-owned and operated business.  They were also beginning to feed the first responders as they arrived before the storm even made landfall.

Since the storm hit, Messina’s has been feeding about 3,000 meals per day to first responders and those in shelters.  Because the of the city’s power outages and lack of clean water, the team has been working in their two kitchens via generator, and getting fresh water and gas shipped in from out of state.

Messina’s Catering & Events Executive Chef Mark Daniels and his team worked for the first few days after the storms without sleep, power or water.  But the team of about 15 keeps going!  Even without air conditioning.

The team is serving whatever food they can get a hold of to make.  “We’re going to keep cooking ‘til we run out of either food or people who need meals,” said Daniels.

Messina's Emergency Feeding Supplies Hurricane Ida

Why Messina’s Catering & Events?

Messina’s portfolio of business includes restaurants, event venues, convention centers, major festival management, sports facilities, performing arts centers, and emergency management contracts.  For this reason, Messina’s is skilled in, and equipped to handle, even the most unique catering situation.

Managing events of this nature requires a great deal of equipment and staff.  Messina’s has two commissary kitchens, a fleet of logo’d trucks (including refrigerated trucks, kitchen trucks, and lift-gate trucks), as well as a fleet of vans and pickup trucks.  In addition to their fully-stocked commissary kitchens, Messina’s also owns a full array of portable equipment including convention ovens, fryers, grills, hot boxes, steam wells, iron kettles, freezers and not to mention portable bars and tents.  This makes Messina’s fully equipped to successfully execute a variety of food and beverage events.

But equipment means nothing without people.  Messina’s is proud of the fact that family-members and loyal employees make up the core of the team and have been with Messina’s for over 15 years.  This means that our stable team of seasoned professionals stand ready to cook and serve where needed.

Messina's team feeding first responders after Hurricane Ida

Going forward

Messina’s team plans to keep feeding those that need it through the Fall as emergency workers will be working to restore devastated areas in St. Charles Parish.  At that time, the team will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and begin to address their own needs.  Also during this time, Messina’s had more than 30 scheduled catering events that had to cancel due to the storm.  Messina’s catering sales team will begin working closely with those groups to rebook so they can still enjoy their New Orleans event.

George and Andrew Messina