Recalling an ‘incredible gesture of generosity’

by Josh Sosland
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From print and broadcast sources, the news over the past weeks has been full of recollections and updates marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. For the most part, the stories have focused less on the horrors experienced in 2005 and more on the remarkable, but not yet complete, recovery and restoration that has been accomplished in the years since.

For its Katrina news, grain-based foods has benefited from the perspectives shared by Robert J. (Sandy) Whann, president of Leidenheimer Baking Co. In industry presentations and interviews published in late 2005, a year later and now in the current issue of this publication, Mr. Whann has offered a clear-eyed while still optimistic baker’s view of what his family-owned business and the city of New Orleans have endured, emphasizing the important ways in which the two are inextricably tied.

“One should never underestimate the efforts one will make to return to normalcy,” he said, describing a powerful lesson he and others in New Orleans learned from the experience. Perhaps even more powerful was the feelings of gratitude Mr. Whann expresses to his colleagues in the baking industry for their outreach after the storm. In this regard, he singles out Turano Baking Co., which baked Leidenheimer products in their plants for a time to ensure food service orders were satisfied. It was, exactly as Mr. Whann said, “an incredible gesture of generosity.”

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