By: Amelia Levin, FSR Magazine
Sue Zemanick got out of New Orleans just in the nick of time. In the last weekend of August in 2005, the recently promoted executive chef of Gautreau’s had her head down preparing, ironically, for a busy weekend and a hurricane party (social events held during mild hurricanes in the South). No one, including Chef Zemanick, knew just how bad this one would be.
“People started calling the restaurant saying they weren’t coming in, and I looked at the [weather] radar and thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s headed straight for us,’” says Zemanick. “We iced down everything and closed up shop.”
In the hours before Katrina hit, Zemanick hadn’t planned to leave, with her second-floor apartment in the higher-ground Uptown neighborhood. But at the insistence of friends, she decided to caravan with a group out of the area and into Lafayette, Louisiana, about two hours away.