Louisiana Man Buys 108 Pounds of Brisket, Throws Barbecue for Displaced Baton Rouge Flood Victims; Says ‘The Lord Put This In My Heart’

Christian Dornhorst serves barbecue to displaced flood victims. (Credit: Ashley Cusick for The Washington Post)
Christian Dornhorst serves barbecue to displaced flood victims. (Credit: Ashley Cusick for The Washington Post)

Outside the Celtic Media Centre, which has become a shelter for thousands left homeless by the historic Baton Rouge flooding this weekend, the smell of barbecue drew the displaced crowd to Christian Dornhorst.

Dornhorst, who lives across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, spent all of Monday at the film studio (involved in the production of such hits as “The Fantastic Four,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” and “True Blood”) with his wife and young daughter cooking up meat he’d bought with his own money to feed the flood victims.

“The Lord put this in my heart at 7 in the morning, when I was at work,” Dornhorst, 35, said. He approached his boss at Dow Chemical, who let him take the day off to help the displaced.

“By 9, I had the food at Sam’s Club,” Dornhorst said. “By 11, my wife had seasoned it up.”

Dornhorst and his wife spent over $850 to purchase all of the brisket in the store, he said. “The Lord blessed us with all of these things,” he said, looking at his truck, his smoker, and his cooking utensils. “There are enough people suffering here that I can do this to help.”

In the morning, there was one small problem: Dornhorst didn’t know where to bring all this food. The brisket had to be in the smoker by noon to be finished by dinner time, so Dornhorst jumped in his truck, his smoker already fired up on its hitch in the back, and started driving. Noon came and Dornhorst had not yet found a shelter, so he pulled over into a parking lot to throw the brisket onto the heat. A business owner came out to see what was going on and directed Dornhorst to the Media Centre.

When Dornhorst pulled in, meat already smoking in the truck behind him, security officers sent him straight to a sound stage.

Dornhorst served food “non-stop” ever since, he said. Chicken and sausage cooked on two small grills throughout the day; three full pot roasts another volunteer dropped off at his table in the afternoon; and finally, just after 7 p.m., the finished brisket.

A familiar Louisiana scene emerged as those staying in the shelter — the old, the young, black people and white people — all enthusiastically lined up for barbecue.

The smoked brisket–all 108 pounds of it– was gone within 20 minutes. After dark, Dornhorst sat in a folding chair, lightly sweating, as he politely told disappointed people that the food was gone.

Dornhorst’s wife took their daughter home to sleep and he was glad they were able to be there. “I brought my 4-year-old so she could see what it’s like when you don’t have a bed,” he said.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Ashley Cusick