Miss Helen's Soup Kitchen provides Thanksgiving dinner for those in need

CROWLEY - Don Gautreaux, the owner of Helen’s Soup Kitchen, which serves warm meals to the less fortunate of Crowley, has begun to stock up for his 12th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday at his location at 7th St. When he pointed into the room where he is storing his food for his Thanksgiving feast, it was nearly full.

“Last year we served 300 Thanksgiving meals,” he said. “Begin serving at 10:30 a.m. and finish up at one so we kind of have to get them in and out. I’m not sure we had 300 people here but some of them like seconds.

“Then I have to go cook dinner for my family.”

Gautreaux is a man who obviously likes to stay busy. After his retirement from his job in New Orleans, he moved from his home back to Crowley and found himself growing bored.

“I needed something to do so I decided that the Lord would want me to do something like this,” he smiled. “And, I love to cook.”

After a sample of his red beans, and rice it is easy to understand why people are lined up outside his door for lunch.

“That’s the way we make it in New Orleans,” he said proudly.

When asked how he gets enough food to serve up to 300 meals, he said that the generosity of people around the holidays has always been fantastic.

“Oh everybody gets so generous this time of year,” said Gautreaux. “The Rice Palace and the Gielens always supply us turkeys and the Kiwanis Club donated $1,000. We are very well stocked.”

Gautreaux said that he will be cooking a traditional meal complete with turkey, rice dressing, cranberry sauce and vegetables. So far he has been given 16 turkeys for the occasion.

“The Knights of Columbus do most of the cooking for us and we do the rest of the cooking ourselves,” said Gautreaux.

“Deacon Ed Boustany, who is U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s cousin, said we were the best soup kitchen he’s ever been to,” he said.

Gautreaux is also been blessed to have so many kids from Catholic schools in the area.

“They have to do their community service for school and plenty of them come here to do it over the holidays,” he said. “We shouldn’t have a shortage of volunteers. We are very well stocked up and ready for Wednesday.”

Deacon Rodless Leleux who was volunteering Monday morning emphasized what a good thing he thought Gautreaux had been doing since he opened Miss Helen’s 12 years ago.

“I think it’s great that he serves the needy of Crowley,” said Deacon Leleux. “Helping them to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.”

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