If the eye of Ivan had been 90 miles west, South Mississippi would be a disaster area, and Florida would be helping us. The close call is why the Palace Casino, Beau Rivage, the DMR, the Roy Anderson Corporation, Biloxi, Harrison and Hancock Counties all teamed up to bring lunch to hurricane ravaged Pensacola.
"I think from the day after the storm, we were all searching for what to do," the Palace's Keith Crosby said.
Last Friday, Crosby got his answer. He got a phone call from the DMR's Joe Ziegler.
"We felt like we needed to do something," said Ziegler. "I mean, anybody who was here for Camille, we were on the receiving end of all of this that we're taking back."
Ziegler and his agency contacted a few people. Crosby did the same thing. In a matter of hours, they had enough catfish, hamburgers, gumbo, baked beans, potato salad and condiments to feed 4,000 people in hurricane ravaged Pensacola.
"Anyone that we can help while we're there that needs a good meal, and doesn't have the ability or whatever to do it themselves, this is a chance for us to help them out," Crosby said.
The lunch to feed Pensacola storm victims is kind of like a gumbo with several ingredients in it. Most of the food came from the Palace. Gumbo came from Beau Rivage. The tables and chairs came from Biloxi. Roy Anderson donated the grills. And Harrison County donated the fryer to cook the catfish.
"We care," said Ziegler. "We want to help. And we want to do all the things that we can do to help them."
Thursday morning, 40 people will haul the food from Biloxi to Florida. By lunchtime, they'll be serving a taste of South Mississippi to Hurricane Ivan's exhausted victims.
"We don't want to bring anything home," Ziegler said. "Everything we take we want to cook it and feed it right there."