Linda "GG" Gibson is no stranger to starting over, but enter her Roswell, Georgia store-- and you'd have no idea that the woman selling crawfish pie and Creole goodies is a survivor. She's weathered two devastating storms that left her no choice but to write a new chapter. Through it all-- faith, family and serving up Cajun cooking have remained priority.
The New Orleans native lost her home, dream car and thriving restaurant in Hurricane Katrina. The powerful storm left her family--and their life in the French Quarter as she knew it-- empty handed. Gibson says she remembers hearing the news the levies had broken and knowing "that life had changed. Instantly. I didn’t know how drastic it would be, but I knew it was a life-changing experience."
With only memories left in New Orleans, Gibson left her heritage and hometown behind as she embarked on a new journey to Atlanta, Georgia. The mother of three says her daughter was in college when Hurricane Katrina hit and was looking for a place to continue her education. That's when Gibson says Georgia State University stepped in and opened its classrooms to displaced students from the storm. Gibson says her daughter suggested the move and it immediately set the wheels in motion. "We didn’t exchange words, let’s [just] go. We had nothing to lose," Gibson remembers.
Determined to create a new life and legacy, Gibson opened up a second restaurant in Woodstock, Georgia just a year after her first restaurant was destroyed. She credits her husband for helping get her back on track. Gibson recounts the conversation, "My husband said, you know-- you did it back there [in New Orleans] and there's nobody like you here. I think you could do it again." With that push, GG opened the doors of her second restaurant-- introducing Atlanta to crawfish pie, remoulade sauce and gumbo.
Gibson says people were eager to try her Cajun cuisine, even drawing the attention of a nearby newspaper. Then the recession hit--taking a tremendous toll on Gibson's second store and blindsiding her in the process. Gibson says after a while, the restaurant became too much of a financial burden to keep, leaving her no choice to let go of her business.
Soon after her second loss, Gibson found a place to store her equipment and she was able to meditate and decide her next move. Gibson says after grieving her second store, she simply realized she wanted to change her story. She was flooded with questions: 'How do I start over again with nothing? What about finances? How am I going to do this?' She credits her faith for helping her see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, Gibson is celebrating the success of her third store with the help of her husband and three children. Enter the store and Gibson's New Orleans roots are instantly recognizable-- the music, the food, the Mardi Gras beads, the vibrant green walls all play their part. Giving the food industry a third "geaux" has meant long nights at the makeshift kitchen (nearly 20 minutes away from her store front), toting her food across town and even pitching her products to a major grocery store. Now, a select number of Kroger stores in the Atlanta area carry her crawfish pie and Gibson hopes this is only the beginning.
Her dream is to have her product nationally known, but she says persistence, good food and keeping her food authentic is key. Interested in learning more about GG Gibson's story and how to order her products? Check out her website for more information