AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Hurricane Katrina forced a New Orleans native and former resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to start her life over in East Alabama.
Sissy Eason, owner of The Village Cookery, serves authentic Louisiana dishes in her restaurant.
"Shrimp Creole, we do grilled shrimp and grilled salmon," said Eason.
And the list goes on.
For the New Orleans native, the menu is a reflection of Eason's roots. She opened her restaurant in Auburn a few years after leaving her home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi in 2005. She and her husband were survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
"It was devastation, there was nothing to buy in the stores. Everything was off the shelves. People were just walking around in a daze. They didn't know what they were going to do or how they were going to do it," said Eason.
Eason and her husband took cover from the storm in Baxterville, Mississippi and stayed for 10 days as they storm passed through. They returned to find their home was one of few that sustained little damage. But this was not the case for some others.
"Everyone in our subdivision just started pulling together, it looked like a war zone," said Eason.
Eason worked in New Orleans for about six months after the storm with her husband. Soon afterward with encouragement from friends in Opelika and Auburn, the Eason's leaves Ocean Springs moved to East Alabama and opened her seafood style restaurant.
"Best clientele anybody can ask for," said Eason.
Eason hasn't returned to the Gulf Coast in three years. But she can still remember the scene she left behind. Things are not back to normal 10 years later.
"Ride the coast and you know what was there and it's a lot missing," said Eason.
As she feeds her guest, Eason says cooking is a way to comfort people in any situation.
"If you eat my food, you'll know that I love to cook," said Eason.
Eason and her late husband helped with the clean-up in New Orleans and also cooked for some of their church members in Moss Point, Mississippi after the storm. Unfortunately, her husband passed away last year but she is still moving forward. She often shares her hurricane stories with her customers.
Eason previously owned a restaurant in Pine Mountain, Georgia for 12 years before moving to Ocean Springs.