GLENDALE, AZ — The taste of the Bayou State never left James Johnson’s hands as he preps and serves home-grown southern cooking.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Johnson ended up settling in Glendale and starting JJ’s Louisiana BBQ back in 2011.
He never saw himself leaving Louisiana, but that was before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.
“It was horrible. So many people were displaced. It was just a catastrophe,” Johnson says.
Six weeks after the storm, he and his family moved to the Valley and never looked back.
“When I turn on the news over here and I see the storms back there, I’m like just get out, just leave,” James implores.
While James left the aftermath of Katrina, Red Cross volunteer David Thompson is flying into potential danger as Hurricane Ida approaches.
He knows firsthand what these storms can do. He was in New Orleans after Katrina made landfall.
“The total devastation at the Lower Ninth Ward with all the flooding. All the people displaced,” he said at Phoenix Sky Harbor.
He’s one of at least six Arizonans heading to the Gulf Coast to help out, while James Johnson looks from afar as his home state braces for Ida this weekend.