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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic persists throughout the United States. At the beginning of the crisis, people spoke of a time in the near future when things could go back to normal, but as cases rise, it is clear that going back to normal won’t be an option for a long time. Instead, bakeries and communities must learn how to coexist with a deadly virus.

For the final episode of season three of Since Sliced Bread, Sandy Whann, president of Leidenheimer Baking Co., New Orleans, shares tips on baking in the midst of crisis and recovery. In 2005, Leidenheimer endured Hurricane Katrina as it flooded 80% of New Orleans and displaced more than one million people. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Leidenheimer Baking and the entire food industry very differently than Hurricane Katrina, but as companies try to survive, the heart of each of these crises is the same.

“These events that are completely out of our control affect people; they affect people before they affect companies, and the impact on companies is the result of their impact on people,” Mr. Whann said. “That was what I learned after Katrina was that any problems you wanted to address for the company, you had to solve it for your people first.”

That lesson from Hurricane Katrina has informed Leidenheimer Baking’s strategy and support of its customers and employees as it moves forward in the midst of the pandemic. Listen to this episode to learn how it’s played out and what it will take for the baking industry to move forward through this storm.

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