Hurricane Katrina Survivor Returning to Louisville to Show Gratitude August 29 2013
Jambalaya Girl coming to Derby City to cook for firefighters and say “Thank You” for hospitality that led to the success of her now thriving business
New Orleans, La – August 29, 2013 –In 2005 the devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced New Orleans resident Kristen Preau and her family to evacuate to Louisville. Now, eight years later Preau, who cooks under the moniker of Jambalaya Girl, is at the helm of a successful business selling her family’s jambalaya rice mix. She knows she may never have accomplished that goal if it weren’t for the hospitality of the residents of Louisville.
Preau will be in Louisville to check on the five Kentuckiana area Sam’s Clubs that carry her product and to show her appreciation for all of the people who helped her. On Thursday, August 29, from 10:00 am until noon, she will commemorate the eight-year anniversary of Katrina by cooking her New Orleans’ Jambalaya for the Firefighters at Fire Engine #4 on 2620 Frankfort Avenue. Her cousin Jeff Schwoeppe is a firefighter at this station and many of the people working there helped her family by holding fundraisers and supporting them at a time when they were at dire straights.
“The city of Louisville and the kindness of its residents, especially the firefighters, gave us the opportunity to have a thriving business today,” said Preau, who is president of Cook Me Somethin’ Mister. “I owe my success in business to this town because they took my family in when we were displaced and I will never forget that.”
When Kristen’s family evacuated to Kentucky during Hurricane Katrina she and her father Paul began cooking jambalaya at tailgating events at universities across the Southeast, including U of L, to help rebuild New Orleans. Some of the first people she cooked for were her cousin Jeff and his firefighter friends. The experience was a revelation for Preau who realized that her love of cooking Jambalaya and her ability to give back to the community were the perfect recipe for a long-term business idea.
“That’s the moment it clicked for me that I could take this jambalaya recipe and turn it into a business,” Preau said. “I owe my success to a combination of a great recipe, an entrepreneurial spirit and the exceptional kindness of the people of Louisville.”
Preau, who transforms herself into Jambalaya Girl by sporting fork earrings, a ponytail and her customary green Cook Me Somethin’ Mister apron got her first taste of national exposure when she was featured on Guy Fieri’s Tailgate Warriors show on the Food Network. One of her biggest breaks however came in February of 2013 when Super Bowl XLVII was held in New Orleans. The former Katrina victim who sought refuge in Louisville beat out over 200 other chefs for the right to cook her Jambalaya for over a thousand guests at the NFL VIP tailgate party.
“That was a real honor and a validation for our company,” said Preau. “The response was amazing and it reinforced the fact that I made the right decision from a business standpoint.”
Preau received further validation of her decision when Sam’s Club recently signed a deal to carry her product in 22 Clubs across six states. She was extremely excited to learn that one of the states carrying her product would be Kentucky.
“The Louisville area locations are very dear to my heart not only because I lived there during Hurricane Katrina but because I have so many friends and family that live in that city,” Preau said. “I can’t tell you how much it means to come back to Louisville on the eight-year anniversary of Katrina.”
About Cook Me Somethin’ Mister
In addition to the 22 Sam’s Clubs, Cook Me Somethin’ Mister Jambalaya Rice Mix can be found in 103 retail locations throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Headquartered in New Orleans, you can order Cook Me Somethin’ Mister products at www.cookmesomethinmister.com.