The man behind the shades in our classic “Patriotic Expert” photo is teaming up with his fraternity brothers to feed thousands of hungry flood victims in Baton Rouge.
His name is Christian Walther. He’s a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a graduate from Louisiana State University, and a founder of Baton Rouge’s own Red White and Que barbecue. Alongside fraternity brothers Trey Bacon and Jay Lastrapes, Walther collected thousands of donated hamburgers and hot dogs, loaded the goods into the Red White and Que food truck, and drove across the flood-ravaged region to provide humanitarian relief in the form of freshly grilled meat.
“It’s just our small way of giving back,” Walther told TFM. “We are doing what we are supposed to be doing — help people out no questions asked. It’s how we were raised.”
Walther described the heartbreaking scene as the Red White and Que truck, painted with fireworks and a big American flag, made its way through his battered community. Boats sitting in muddy front yards. Houses full of water. Entire lives cast onto curbsides. Walther was lucky. His home, built atop a hill, was mostly untouched by the flooding.
They stop at churches and high schools and anywhere else victims are sheltered, feeding between 50 and 500 people at a time. On Wednesday, they served a group of National Guardsmen who had come to provide aid.
They even deliver directly to people’s front doors. Some flood victims are unable to leave their homes, forced to watch over the possessions they moved outside to save from a flooded interior. For them, the Red White and Que food truck is a godsend.
While Baton Rouge still has a long road to recovery, Walther says the community outreach has been incredible. He adds that the community’s positivity in the face of disaster has kept the national media off their backs, which he sees as a good thing.
“It’s pretty cool how galvanizing the floods have been for the community without the national media attention,” he said. “[The media] can be a distraction — they’re looking for something shocking, something to fit their narrative or agenda — but all they found here was good people helping other good people put their lives back together.”
Walther graduated from LSU in 2012, where he honed his culinary skills by serving barbecue at SAE’s annual Daytona 500 Dale Memorial Cookout. Friends would tell him that their Q was so good, they should start charging for it. Last year, he did just that, founding Red White and Que, which operates under the motto, “Meat, Smoke and Freedom.” A fitting title. Few people know more about patriotism than Walther. Even fewer live by it..
Images courtesy of Christian Walther