In true Austin transplant fashion, Lynzy Moran came to the city for the rock ’n’ roll. But as the hot sauce container at her East Sixth Street food truck says: Make no mistake, she’s from Louisiana.
Which is why Moran, a bleached blond, tattooed chef, has been infuriated by what she says is a lack of attention from the public and the national media to the plight of people in her home state, who are suffering from the worst natural disaster in the country since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, according to the American Red Cross.
Last Tuesday, Moran decided to do something about it. She took to Facebook and posted that her food truck "Baton Creole," which serves "badass Cajun" food, would send 100 percent of the profits from every $8 bowl of gumbo she sells from Thursday to Sunday to disaster relief efforts in Louisiana. She called it #GumboForACause.
"It’s heartbreaking what people are having to go through," Moran said Thursday, taking a break from preparing meals for a short interview. "I want to spread awareness and any kind of relief I can."
More than 40,000 homes have been affected by the flooding in Louisiana, and 11 people have been confirmed dead. Some 86,000 people have applied for disaster aid from the federal government.
By Thursday, Moran said, more than 22,000 people had seen her Facebook post.
The feedback was "extraordinary," and she believed it was because her post was going toward helping people in need.
"The plan is to make as much gumbo as possible," she said.
It’s just her, however, so people might have to be patient if she gets slammed with too many orders at one time. But she’s ready for the challenge and hopes to raise $2,000.
For Moran, a native of Houma, La., about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, the issue is personal.
She lived through Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and, although Houma wasn’t the worst hit by that disaster, half her town was affected and everyone had friends or family whose homes or lives had been destroyed.
All of her family still lives in Louisiana, she said, and while they’re OK, "I wish I could be down there giving a hand."
But she’s hoping to do her part with her fundraiser, and she hopes others will follow her lead to bring more attention to the plight of her fellow Louisianans.
"People can give whatever they can," she said, and more importantly "we as people can help control media attention to some extent by raising questions: Where was the media? Where was the military? Where is the government?"
In the meantime, she’ll trek on, filling her role as part of the "Cajun Navy," as Louisiana volunteers call themselves, by raising funds through Gumbo sales. What could be more Louisiana than that?
"If I could give more, I would," she said.
The money will go to the United Way of Acadiana’s flood relief efforts. The Baton Creole, located at 907 E. Sixth St., is open 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.