Being “eco-friendly” and “going green” can be accomplished in seemingly easy enough steps. For chef Lucy Buffett and her ever-crowded restaurant, LuLu’s at Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores, Ala., that means using recyclable cups, supplementing electricity with wind turbines and using homegrown local produce in the kitchen.
Southern Living magazine‘s May 2010 issue dutifully detailed these, but the article failed to capture one now-more-important thing: her passion for place. If anyone has publicly embodied this spirit in the last few months, it’s Lucy Buffett and her famous “Margaritaville”-strumming brother, Jimmy, who have taken up the Gulf Coast’s cause in the wake of the BP oil spill.
Once upon a time, LuLu’s was a tucked-away spot along Weeks Bay, more a watering hole for locals than for tourists. But now that she’s front and center on the gulf scene, Lucy has become an unofficial spokesperson and advocate as the subject of a national ad campaign and numerous media interviews.
The announcement of a free concert to help fill empty beaches gave her brother’s laid-back musical voice a more impassioned tone. Originally planned as a July Fourth weekend kickoff, the show was postponed by–wouldn’t you know it–a tropical storm. But it’s been rescheduled for July 11.
While it’s duly noted that LuLu’s has gone green, let’s also realize it’s another fight for your little corner of paradise. It’s noble and responsible to recycle and reduce energy consumption, but any restaurant could do so if it really wanted to.
So when Lucy Buffett tells national media that the Gulf Coast needs people’s business, or Jimmy Buffett tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the “people on this coast can survive anything,” their sincerity for not just the planet, but for a place–a home place–resonates with a passion so deep that it’s much more than just “eco-friendly.”