© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In Hurricane Florence Aftermath, The Luxury Of A Hot Meal


After dealing with storm surge and catastrophic flooding, some residents of New Bern, N.C., got a bit of good news today - a chance to get a hot meal after being cooped up waiting for Florence to pass. As NPR's Brakkton Booker reports, when Smithfields Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q opened today, the lines were long and the appetites were big.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: By 10 a.m., parked cars were lined up nearly a block down Martin Luther King Boulevard. Just a day ago, parts of this town were underwater. Today, people just want to get out, stretch their legs and chow down on some comfort food. Pete Jones is in his pickup with his wife and 17-month-old daughter.

PETE JONES: We're tired of chips and cookies and bologna sandwiches.

BOOKER: So what are you going to order when you finally get in line here?

JONES: I'm going to get two family packs, chicken and barbecue. Probably going to spend about a hundred dollars (laughter).

BOOKER: Further up the line, Jamie Cherry sits in an SUV full of friends and family who are famished. This will be their first hot meal in four days.

JAMIE CHERRY: I came to get something to eat. I didn't know what I was going to get. Just saw the line and got in it.

BOOKER: Antonio Williams works the drive-thru. He and other employees here took it upon themselves to open up today even as their own homes suffered damage. For Williams, he's working this shift in damp track pants.

ANTONIO WILLIAMS: I live on Sunnyside. That's flooded. I got out of there. I swim. I ain't got no shoes, ain't got nothing, see? This what I'm wearing - wearing flip-flops.

BOOKER: None of this bothers Mayra Hargrove, Daisy Gibbs and Remy Lindsay. They've been in a shelter for the past three days eating frozen lunchables. They're just happy to have a hot meal.

MAYRA HARGROVE: We got 16 pieces of chicken. And they're being stingy with the chicken, told us we got to stand outside to order our chicken. They so rude. But come get some chicken if y'all want some.

BOOKER: Though this doesn't fix all her problems right now, it is a delicious distraction.

DAISY GIBBS: Yes. This is luxury.

REMY LINDSAY: I'm trying to hurry up and eat it.

BOOKER: A small comfort during a challenging time in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Brakkton Booker, NPR News, New Bern, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.