It's no secret that COVID-19 restrictions, while put in place to keep us all safe, have had a detrimental effect on many local businesses.
But JJ's Jammin' Food Truck seems to be bucking the trend. Business is good at the bright red truck parked at the corner of Broad and King streets. Drive by any time they're open and you'll see people lined up for the truck's Creole and Southern cuisine.
The food truck is owned by Jobe J. Guillory, a former chef at Copeland's, Ruby Tuesday, McNeese State University and Isle of Capri and L'auberge casinos.
After buying this food truck in December and opening for business in March, Guillory said he's now getting the chance to be his own boss.
Guillory said he likes his spot here under the shade of a big live oak tree. He's there every day except Sundays and Tuesdays.
"I don't like to move around. I've got quite a following here," he said.
JJ's Jammin' Food Truck opens between 11:45 a.m. and noon and stays open until 5 p.m. or until Guillory runs out of food —"whichever comes first," he said.
He posts his menu by 9:30 a.m. each day on a Facebook page. There are daily specials. On Monday, it was smothered okra with shrimp, rice and two sides for $12; or red beans, sausage and rice with two sides plus three wings for $12, or plus fried fish for $15.
There are other choices, like jambalaya, grilled or fried catfish, a Creole jerk chicken sandwich, a smoked sausage sandwich, fried chicken wings or the half-pound Goosport smoked hamburger. Extremely hungry people can supersize the hamburger by ordering the Gossport Monster Burger, with four beef patties, bacon and more. How big is it?
"If anyone can eat the whole thing in one sitting, I'll give them a free T-shirt," said Guillory.
On Monday, I passed up the chance to earn a free T-shirt and chose the smothered okra with sides of spicy cabbage and macaroni and cheese instead.
When I picked up the to-go box, it felt like it weighed about five pounds. It was packed with hot food that smelled amazing. I ate it for lunch. Then my husband and I ate what was left for dinner. There was ample food for both of us.
Two things, if you get this smothered okra dinner: Have plenty of water handy because this dish packs quite a bit of heat. When the fiery spices hit, you'll need something to drink and you'll need it fast. Also, keep a tissue handy to wipe your eyes because they will probably begin to water. Mine did.
If you are suffering from any kind of sinus congestion at all, this smothered okra dish is sure to clear it right up.
There is plenty of pepper here, but also lots of complex flavors all melded together in a wonderful way.
There was sausage and chicken mixed in with the okra, shrimp and rice. The macaroni and cheese was creamy, rich and cheesy.
Finish off your meal with a dessert of sweet potato pie or New Orleans-style pecan candy.