Intervention is a competitive, award-winning barbecue team based in New Orleans. Among its "hog feats," the group counts a second place "Best Sandwich" award, a third place "Best Booth" award, and a "Top Five Friday Night Party." These days, though, the team led by Dan Sanders would do well to take the pun out of its name, as their work to help support healthcare workers during the pandemic has become more of a true "divine intervention."
Because an image is worth a thousand words, one look at the group's Instagram feed tells the story. A stream of photos showing mouthwatering dishes and exuberant ads for upcoming events has given way to group shots dominated by the unmistakable blue hues of medical scrubs. What hasn't changed is the energy, commitment, and passion of this group. They say a true smile is all in the eyes - you'll still see many smiles on this Instagram feed, even behind the face masks.
Larry Tong, product development manager with the Zatarain's team, which is based in New Orleans, is a member of Intervention. With his team, he's been preparing and donating meals for healthcare workers at various area hospitals. Zatarain's became aware of this group thanks to Larry's involvement and decided to to support this important work.
True to its original character as a New Orleans fixture since 1889, the Zatarain's brand has rolled up its sleeves and jumped right in to support friends and neighbors powering through the COVID-19 emergency. The team has funded initiatives with roots deep in a community that knows how to come together in good times, but perhaps even more so in tough times.
In addition to supporting Intervention, Zatarain's brightened a recent weekend shift for hard-working medical staff in New Orleans with a gift of 30 packages of sausage to prepare Jambalaya, a local classic dish.
The business has also donated bottles and caps to Big Easy Blends, a local alcoholic beverage manufacturer that turned to hand-sanitizer using the World Health Organization's formula. Big Easy Blends filled Zatarain's bottles with their hand sanitizer and distributed to local hospitals, including Ochsner Medical Centers, Louisiana's largest nonprofit healthcare system.
A donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank has supported the organization's work to serve vulnerable senior citizens, feed children out of school during the pandemic, and service industry workers currently out of work.
Zatarain's also to the Lee Initiative in New Orleans. As part of this initiative, Cochon Restaurant, is transforming itself into a relief center for at least two weeks. The restaurant will serve meals three days a week to any member of the independent restaurant industry who is unemployed or has had significant reduction in hours or pay due to COVID-19.
Finally, Zatarain's is also supporting Feed the Front Line. The initiative, spearheaded by a local group named the Krewe of Read Beans, was designed to feed hospital workers across New Orleans, employ out-of-work musicians/artists, and support restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis. The idea is simple and deeply rooted in New Orleans culture: orders placed at local New Orleans restaurants are delivered by local musicians to area ERs and ICUs to feed hospital staff and other workers responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The group is delivering an astounding 1,900 meals per day.
These are, no doubt, unprecedented times. But the work these organizations are doing to keep their community strong, the way New Orleans is to an incredible challenge, and ultimately the work people are doing to support one another, is a reminder that some things never change. We're thankful for that reminder, Zatarain's!