They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and for New Orleans residents, iron cookware is at the heart of every kitchen. Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, and his cousin, Bob Kellermann, Chairman and CEO of Lodge Manufacturing, decided to give 64 emergency physicians who have been working tirelessly to serve the medical needs of flood-ravaged New Orleans a small gift to help them rebuild starting at the heart.
"These are amazing young doctors," says Dr.Kellermann. "They have been practicing medicine in tent hospitals since they were evacuated from Charity Hospital, and many of them have lost their homes. This is just a small gift to help them rebuild after the flood."
According to Dr. Kellermann, Emory's emergency medicine program has always had a strong relationship with LSU/Charity Hospital's emergency medicine program, because both staff large public hospital ERs and have a strong social mission. Kellermann and his team thought a small gift of cast iron cookware offered the hope of a fresh start in the coming year.
Peter DeBlieux, MD, director of resident and faculty development, Section of Emergency Medicine, LSU School of Medicine and his colleagues worked around the clock in the darkened hallways of Charity to sustain Charity's patients after the hospital lost power and was largely abandoned by the outside world. They didn't leave Charity until the last patient was evacuated. He was delighted when Kellermann proposed the idea of a shipment of cast iron cookware.
"This is a wonderfully generous gift. It helps more than you may ever imagine," he told Dr. Kellermann.
"News Orleans and the Gulf Coast have such an integral part in our nation's culinary and cultural history, and much of that history has been created with Cajun and Creole recipes prepared in cast iron Dutch ovens, skillets and other pieces of cookware from Europe and in the United States," says Bob Kellermann.
"I know nothing Lodge can provide will completely assist in the rebuilding efforts, but I do know doctors can't treat their patients without maintaining their physical strength. We hope our cast iron cookware enables them to complete their medical tasks, and the recipes prepared will lift their spirits," he says.
Bob and Dr. Kellermann are both descendants of the founder of Lodge Manufacturing Company, Joseph Lodge. Lodge Manufacturing is the lone domestic producer of cast iron cookware. They shipped 64 Lodge cast iron combo cookers, which include a pot and skillet/lid.
"LSU Emergency Medicine's commitment to their patients was stronger than iron," adds Dr. Kellermann. "The gift is simply a token of our admiration and respect for what they did."