Corpus Christi, Texas A Beautiful, Affordable Nature City by the Bay Where Wildlife Watching Never Ends


Dearest Readers:

Stories about travel, amazing cities to visit and to admire. Enjoy!

Recognized as the ‘Birdiest City in America,’ Corpus Christi’s personality is one to behold. Corpus Christi is not just a place where birds flock; it is a beautiful, and affordable coastal city and one of the nation’s biggest shipping ports. The Coastal Bend of Corpus Christi provides 11,000 hotel rooms with September through January considered as the best and most advantageous times of the year for meeting groups to consider booking events. Home of the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, Corpus Christi has public access to over 120 miles of virtually untouched beachfront via Padre Island National Seashore. Since Corpus Christi is such a great, affordable setting for meetings, the coastal city is a great setting to combine a vacation during meetings.

“Year-round, Corpus Christi is one of the most affordable destinations on the coast and in the winter months, we offer an even better value for those seeking a tropical reprieve. Centrally located on the Texas Coast, Corpus Christi has waves, wings and wildlife,” said Regina Garcia-Posada, Communications Manager for Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“When considering where to host a meeting, meeting planners find when they compare our group rates, food and beverage and audio visual packages, Corpus Christi offers a value that surpasses the rest,” said Garcia-Posada. “Our hotels are diverse, from Four-Diamond Hotels with superior meeting facilities to newly built Select Service brands, to Resorts of the Gulf; all with affordability in mind, and most important, friendly service. What makes Corpus Christi such an interesting and unique nature loving atmosphere for hosting group meetings is the accommodations. The 5,050 seat Whataburger Field accommodates group events for 10-2,000 people during in-season and off-season. Another interesting setting is the Old Market Pavilion, a prime mid-size facility with a covered pavilion that can easily host up to 2,000 guests and full-service event planning is available. Texas State Aquarium offers a one-hour tour of the shoreline of Corpus Christi on the 100 foot luxury yacht, TSA Explorer. A Texas State Aquarium guide will be aboard to answer questions and share expertise about historical sites and wildlife.”

Another interesting venue is the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, offering the interactive exhibit, Virtual Battle Stations which will engage the audience, sending shivers down their spines in “Air to Air Combat,” “Carrier Landing” and Ship’s Gunnery,” video interactions. Historically, some of the most astonishing events in history took place on the USS Lexington, including World War II action from Tarawa to Tokyo, giving her the name of the Blue Ghost. “The Hangar Deck has more than 40,000 square feet of convenient, accessible space where groups up to 2,600 may meet and celebrate any event,” said Debbie Crites, Marketing Director of the Museum. “Hangar Bay II has air conditioning and heat for events year-round. The USS Lexington’s MEGA Theater, has comfortable stadium seating and state-of-the-art audio/visual technology, perfect for presentations, product launches or award ceremonies. Total capacity for this stadium is 193.” The USS Lexington is an ideal one-of-a-kind, unforgettable setting that makes planning a cocktail reception, banquet, stage show, or team building event a breeze in an outstanding museum on the bay of Corpus Christi.

The Solomon P. Ortiz International Center is uniquely located on the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel and can accommodate groups of 10 to 2,000. Offering soundproof, flexible meeting spaces for group accommodations complete with a banquet hall and an outdoor square, the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center offers meeting rooms ranging from 580 to 16,555 square feet. Regardless of the event, the Ortiz Center is a perfect setting to accomplish the goals and the mission of any specialty event.

Located in the Downtown Marina District on the Corpus Christi Bay, the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel has rooms with “spectacular views of the Bay, with views of the USS Lexington to the north, and the Marina and yacht basin to the south,” said Paulette Kluge, Director of Sales and Marketing. The hotel has 821 rooms, including seven specialty suites, 13 Bay view suites and 15 junior suites. All rooms include coffeemakers, iron and ironing boards, hairdryers, complimentary airport transportation, terrycloth robes, express check out via TV and same day dry cleaning available for all guests. The Omni has 24 meeting rooms with the largest meeting capacity suitable for 1,115 and 38,000 square feet of on-site meeting space. “All meeting space is on one floor and can be easily accessed via escalator. Described as the “Best Hotel in Corpus Christi,” by the Corpus Christi Caller Times Best of the Best Award, the Omni has a staff of dedicated hospitality professionals on staff, committed to the best service. “Omni Hotels and Resorts just earned the JD Powers highest ranking among 15 upscale hotel brands,” said Kluge. “Recent staff additions include Daniel Cornelius, Director of Food and Beverage. Known as the place to celebrate special events, the AAA Four-Diamond Republic of Texas Bar and Grill, located on the 20th floor of the Bayfront Tower at the Omni, serves an excellent variety of prime steaks, wild game and fresh seafood. Considered one of Corpus Christi’s top destinations for dining, the Republic of Texas Bar and Grill is the only restaurant in South Texas to receive this honor.”

Easy to get to, complimentary parking at the hotel and an easy-in hotel, Radisson Beach Hotel is affordable, and comfortable. Located with the ocean as the back door, Downtown Corpus Christi is only one mile from the Radisson Beach. “Every guest room has a balcony and a microwave and mini-fridge. The Radisson is a full-service hotel offering a restaurant and a large bar overlooking the ocean, a gift shop, exercise room and business center. We have 139 guest rooms, seven meeting rooms with 3,300 square feet of meeting capacity. Overlooking the ocean, we have a ballroom and a smaller room on the main hotel lobby floor. Both of these rooms received new wall surfaces and carpeting in 2009. The ballroom can be divided into three equal rooms,” said Carla Ligon, Director of Sales and Marketing. “There is another large room on the second floor which overlooks the ocean. This room may be divided into two sections. Special events and meetings do occur in Corpus Christi. Every year the city has Buc Days and Bayfest, Beach to Bay Marathon, the Texas International Boat Show and many Coastal Bend Festivals. Our local cuisine is delicious and reasonably priced. Radisson Beach Hotel is located on Corpus Christi Beach next to the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Museum and three blocks from Texas State Aquarium. We aren’t here to break the bank; we are here to provide hospitality with excellence. Radisson is a full-service hotel, but we are not full of ourselves. We recognize returning guests and we call them by name. We rely on the fact that our beaches and the ocean are our attractions and we build on that with great beds, including the Sleep Number Bed, great service, good food and appreciation for tourists that spend their time with us. Our employees are trained with the attitude of ‘It’s Everybody’s Job,’ and that is our motto.”


Corpus Christi’s beaches have remained open to the public and are unaffected by the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. City officials and the Convention & Visitors Bureau Communications team closely monitored the oil spill and have kept tourists and visitors well informed. “Corpus Christi shares more than 65 miles of gulf and bay beaches out of the 624 miles of Texas coastline,” said Garcia-Posada. “We have great weather, value destinations with unique meeting spaces overlooking the Corpus Christi Bay. Dine with the sharks at the Texas State Aquarium. Become part of history in the newly air conditioned meeting spaces aboard the U.S.S. Lexington on the Bay, or watch the ships steam into port from the Solomon P. Ortiz Center and the American Bank Center. This outdoor odyssey offers recreational activities with over 100 miles of windswept dunes along the southeastern Texas shoreline. Corpus Christi is not only a place to relax and unwind; it’s also a nature lover’s dream with over 150 nature sites within the coastal area. Now the largest coastal city in the State of Texas, Corpus Christi provides plenty to do for an active group, or a vacationing family. Moments and memories made here are sure to be tucked away in a special memory book for all to enjoy.”

“Our CVB has done a great job of getting the word out that our beaches have not been affected by the oil disaster in the Gulf,” said Ligon. “The Holiday Inn Beach Hotel at North Padre Island is the only full service hotel on the island offering 149 guest rooms. For meetings, there is a main ballroom that can be divided into three rooms, located on the main floor of the hotel. The Holiday Inn Beach Hotel is still within the city limits of Corpus Christi, located on the east side, towards Port Aransas and Mustang Island. The property is a 3-diamond AAA hotel. North Padre Island is most beautiful with miles of natural beaches. This area has wildlife and conservation at its best. Holiday Inn Beach Hotel is a beautiful, affordable location for business retreats and corporate meetings, and family reunions. The Hotel offers live outdoor entertainment during the summer, plus the benefit of beach access and a seawall perfect for leisurely strolls. The hotel has a gift shop, exercise room, a business center and meeting rooms of up to 2,100 square feet. We don’t charge extra for the little things. Parking, local phone calls and our high-speed Internet access is complimentary. Our goal is to build relationships. The atmosphere is full of beach, sand, sun and fun. The memories are free and yours to keep.”


Sales Tax:             8.25%

Hotel Tax:            15% (breaks down to State – 6%; City – 9%)

Transportation:    Downtown transportation includes the B-Trolley, the public bus system that will take passengers around the town for a very affordable low fare. Shuttles are designed to look like trolleys serving the Downtown and Port Aransas year-round. Passengers may travel around the downtown attractions and accommodations while enjoying a scenic tour. Look for the “B” signs for Trolley routes arriving every 10 – 20 minutes. Taxis, limos, and charter busses are also available.


Buc Days,

Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau,

Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority,

Fares for Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority,

Holiday Inn Beach Hotel,

Omni Corpus Christi Hotel,

Padre Island National Seashore,

Radisson Beach Hotel,

Texas State Aquarium,

The Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center,

USS Lexington Museum on the Bay,

Whataburger Field,


Charleston, West Virginia – Take Me Home Country Roads

Dearest Readers:

Below is an article I wrote years ago about Charleston, WV. Enjoy!

Charleston, West Virginia is an exceptional, first-class meeting facility filled with beautiful scenery, history, and southern charm, befitting the comforts and traditions of most sophisticated cities in West Virginia. “While we do not have the lights of Las Vegas, or the skyscrapers of New York City, what we do have is mountain beauty, Charleston is a walkable, picturesque city, and a safe, friendly environment where people actually smile at you and say hello and they are proud to help you,” said Patricia Bradley-Pitrolo, President/CEO of the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Charleston is a safe, affordable, family friendly city. The beauty and charm make it the ideal consideration for planners who seek the amenities and the pleasures of a majestic setting. Downtown Charleston has plenty of parking, seven hotels with 1,450 rooms, all conveniently located within walking distance of the Charleston Civic Center, Charleston Town Center Mall and more than 30 restaurants,” said Pitrolo. “Five of our downtown hotels provide meeting spaces from 1,200 to 14,600 square feet. The Charleston area has more than 3,500 sleeping rooms in 26 hotels, offering a variety of hospitality options.

Easily accessible, Yeager Airport is only eight minutes from downtown, providing competitive airfares and non-stop flights to 10 major cities. Strategically located within the Interstate systems, I-66, I-77, and I-79, Charleston, WV is positioned within driving distance of many popular destinations, including Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, SC, Nashville, TN and Washington, DC. If traveling by train is a preference, an Amtrak Station is located downtown.

Filled with the landscape of mountain beauty, Charleston offers many popular West Virginia activities, including skiing, world-class Tree Tops Zip Line Canopy Tours, Bridge Walk tours to the New River Gorge, whitewater rafting, ATV trails, golf, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and many more adventures for all to enjoy, conveniently located within 90 minutes.

Charleston has many festivals, theaters, concerts, arts shows and all sorts of activities for every age and taste. The International Chili Cook-off was held there in 2009, welcoming people from all over the world.

September – February are considered the best months to book reasonably priced meetings. Since Charleston is a city where walking is encouraged and easy to do, there are many activities that are within walking distances of the civic center and other accommodations. The CVB prides itself in “going above and beyond” to exceed expectations where groups experience higher than expected attendance. Friendly locals go out of their to welcome guests.

“You can walk out the front door of your hotel, right into the Mall and we have a Mayor who cares about conferences and meetings. Creative solutions and personalized service are the key to meeting the individual needs of guests,” said Pitroli. “The Charleston CVB wants to make meetings a success. We can be as hands-on as needed and we stand by our reputation of excellent service at no cost to meeting planners and attendees.”

The largest meeting space is the Convention Center. The Grand Convention Hall contains 52,000 square feet of Class A exhibition space with the availability to accommodate 256 standard booths. The Coliseum offers a total of 30,000 square feet of space and seating for 13,500, thus becoming the premier venue for trade shows, conventions, concerts, sporting and other exciting attractions. The theater in the convention center has seating for 750. The talented culinary team is a perfect fit for an amazing selection of gourmet cuisine.

Shopping and dining is great in Charleston with much to offer. The Charleston Town Center Mall is one of the largest in the East. Downtown Renaissance Village has international cuisine, exclusive stores, and art galleries. The Downtown Capitol Market, an amazing open-air market filled with local and seasonal produce, flowers, specialty shops, butcher and wine shops, seasonal goods, and something for everyone. Browse around for seasonal and local specialties, West Virginia Southern cuisine, chocolates, wine and cheese. Easily accessible with free parking on all four sides of the Market, Capitol Market contains a treasure trove of merchandise, well worth the visit.

Recently completed renovations for Charleston include a $3.5 million renovation to the Haddad Riverfront Park, centrally located in the heart of the city. The CVB uses the park for many outdoor events. This popular destination has a retractable fabric canopy over the park’s seating area, a steel and fabric roof for the permanent stage and another canopy covering the pavilion that overlooks the Kanawha River. The riverfront park has an amphitheater, boat docking and benches located along the river. The park offers “Live on the Levee” concerts every Friday during the summer and the Charleston Symphony performs during the July 4th celebration.

FestivALL, an annual celebration where the city becomes “a work of art” offers sternwheeler rides and music, dance, theater and fun. Each year the popularity of FestivALL increases. In 2009, over 50,000 people attended. Statistics for 2010 are not finalized since the festival was held in June, but the steering committee is quickly making plans for 2011, scheduled for June 17 – 26, 2011.

The Summit Conference Center is a fabulous venue for Charleston. “Our business is well-known in the community and it is one of the best places to hold meetings, banquets, and parties of all kind. We have comfortable and private rooms with up-to-date audiovisual equipment available, including High Speed Internet access and videoconferencing. Our catering department serves a tantalizing array of food that can be at the facility or delivered and served at your favorite off-site location,” said Janet Simpson, Meeting Planner for the Summit Conference Center. Located in downtown Charleston, the Center has six meeting rooms, with a functional space of 5,627 square feet, a large banquet capacity suitable for 100 and the food and customer service are exceptional.

Ramada Plaza Hotel, located on Second Avenue, recently remodeled all boardrooms in 2010. Additional renovations include all new furniture and carpeting in all sleeping rooms and the addition of flat screen TV’s. “We have friendly, caring staff, easy access, free ground level parking, and we are located between two major shopping areas,” said Ann R. Blaylock, Convention Sales Manager. “The property has long-term stay accommodations available, 155 sleeping rooms, 49 non-smoking double beds, 16 smoking double beds, 14 non-smoking kings, 26 business class non-smoking kings, 10 business class non-smoking double beds, 6 suite non-smoking double beds, 10 suite non-smoking kings, 4 suite smoking kings, 8 non-smoking queen efficiency, 2 smoking queen efficiency, 5 non-smoking handicapped kings, 1 smoking handicapped king, with down comforters, duvets, and throws on the end of all beds, with coffeemaker, microwave, mini-fridge, iron/ironing board, blow dryer, morning paper, continental breakfast, plus full kitchens in suites, free wireless Internet access in all sleeping rooms, meeting rooms and wake-up calls, Pay Per View movies and we are a pet friendly hotel.”

“Charleston Civic Center is one of the most flexible facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Sharon King, Director of Sales, and Marketing. “We focus on conventions offering a facility that can handle exhibit space needs as well as a location that offers big city style, with warmth and ease of a small town. The Civic Center is located downtown within walking distance of five hotels, shopping and restaurants. We embrace the traditions of the Appalachian culture and endeavor always to build new ways of life. The Symphony, museums, shopping and theaters, featuring nationally know performances are only a few of the attractions you will find within the metro valley. The area is rich in culture and recreational amenities.”

The Civic Center Conference complex offers a total of 18 meeting rooms, over 6,500 square feet on the main level of the property. The rooms can provide an intimate atmosphere for meeting and small exhibits. Five executive parlors are located on the main level, providing 3,100 square feet of theater, classroom, or conference seating that can accommodate 900. The Little Theater, updated with new seating, stage, lighting, and curtains is located in the main complex seating 736. The building will undergo new upgrades in 2011. “We are in the process of ‘going green’ recycling as much as possible from paper products, packing and cans. The Charleston Civic Center is located two blocks from the Federal Court House and we are directly across the street from the Charleston Town Center Mall. Within three blocks are Summers and Capitol Streets, considered the main arteries for the downtown area. The Charleston Marriott, The Embassy Suites, and the Holiday Inn Express surround the setting, offering the ability to walk to any of these locations.”

“In-house catering at the Charleston Civic Center follows the philosophy of great service and cuisine,” said King. “Training and supervision of all team members is an important part of our process, ensuring that your event will make the desired impression. An extra bonus is our food costs are well below the national average.”

“During 2008 – 2009, Charleston, WV hosted 76 meetings/conventions and events with a total attendance of 73,000 and an economic impact of $38 million. Fiscal year 2009-2010 saw Charleston host 87 meetings/conventions and events with a total attendance of 116,000 and an economic impact of $39.5 million,” said Pitroli. Average group-based room rates are $115. The beauty and charm of Charleston make it an ideal location for planners seeking the amenities of a sophisticated business urban center and the pleasures of a setting so majestically beautiful and relaxing, can only be found in West Virginia.”





Charleston, WV Convention and Visitors Bureau,

Charleston Civic Center,

Capitol Market,

Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority,


Ramada Plaza Hotel,

Summit Conference Center,

Yeager Airport,

West Virginia Fairs and Festivals,



Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a freelance writer who loves the journey and exploration of hospitality, travel, and health. She works full-time as an editorial photojournalist and has published numerous articles and photographs for regional, health and beauty and travel publications, including the Travel Channel, Buick B Magazine and many more. She is the author of Condition of Limbo and Career Diary of a Photographer. Visit her website


Dearest Readers:

In the news, we continue hearing about the #MeToo epidemic. Many actresses and celebrities are finally coming forward about sexual molestation…sexual harassment…rape…and so on. Many are asking why it has taken them so long to come forward. My response – “You’ve never been a victim. Have you?”

If you read the last post I shared, you will know I was a victim too. No. Not from rape. I fought back hard and was able to fight my great-uncle off. While I’m certain other women fought, some were so horrified they could not fight back.

As a woman in a professional hospitality industry, I would like to share another incident I experienced. At the time, I worked in hospitality. On one occasion, I left my office to speak with someone on the floor below my office. I wore a black and white dress. White belt. Bolero jacket and high heels. Because I always wore heels, everyone who knew me, knew the click, click, clicking of my heels. I passed by the elevator. One of the instructors stopped me, telling me how “gorgeous you look today. Really inviting…” Then, he licked his lips and mumbled “Hmm…Hmm! You look edible today.”

At first, I ignored his comments, continuing to walk to my destination. Moments later, since no one was around and I did not have witnesses, I approached him.

He smiled a derogative smile. “You came back,” he said.

“Yes. I came back. Not to encourage you or express interest in what you were saying to me. I. Came. Back, to tell you from this moment on, you will address me with respect. The way you were looking at me, you were undressing me. I will not tolerate that behavior.”

He attempted to interrupt me, but I put my hand up to let him know I wasn’t finished. “From this day forward, you will not speak to me, or with me. You will look the other way, or you will turn away from me. How dare you to lick your lips and make such rude, suggestive comments to me.”

He moved closer. I pushed him back. “And, Mr. _____, IF you ever get the urge to lick your lips around me again, no doubt suggesting unbecoming ideas, I will press charges against you. What you did was disgusting and I will not tolerate it again. If needed, I will go to H-R to file a sexual harassment complaint.”

He gasped.

“Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” He said.

This instructor never spoke to me again. A few months later a student filed a complaint against him and he was escorted off of the property. The student left the campus, never to return.

I do not know exactly what happened to the student, but I was thankful the instructor would not be nearby again.

Yes. I should’ve filed a complaint, but at the time, my husband was unemployed and I needed the job. Since sexual harassment is such an open topic now, thanks to #MeToo, and the abundance of women coming forward, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not reporting it. I understand why women are hesitant, just like me.

Sexual harassment is not a new occurrence now. Sexual harassment has been happening for many, many years. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report it. While I haven’t stated where I worked at the time, or who the party was who sexually harassed me, I am coming forward to let others know it does happen. Women are made to feel as if we are the ones who caused this ‘epidemic’ to happen. I say, No. On the day it happened to me, I was left feeling scared and abused. I am proud of myself for approaching this disgusting man and letting him know his comments and actions made me uncomfortable. Obviously, he continued to make those off-colored comments to other women.

Some men never learn!

If you are reading this, and it happens to you, please stand up and speak out. Weeks after my incident I did ask our H-R professional what would happen IF someone filed a complaint against another colleague regarding sexual harassment. I was told, “It’s usually a question of He said…She said…IF there were no witnesses around.”

I wasn’t surprised. Today, I am thankful women are speaking up. It is time for us to stop being victims. Hopefully, #MeToo will give us the courage to share these disgusting incidents.

Let us all stand tall #MeToo!


In Memory of Chef Shane Whiddon

Good morning to all. If you follow my posts on Facebook and my blog, you will know yesterday was another tragic day in the Holy City of Charleston, SC.

Yesterday, a disgruntled, former employee walked into Virginia’s on King Restaurant with a sick mission on his mind. He reportedly has mental health issues.

Holding a weapon, he told everyone inside the restaurant to get on the floor and exit the building. One woman stated he pointed the weapon on her stomach. He did not shoot her.

Since I write about food and hospitality, I know quite a few chefs within the Lowcountry of Charleston, I researched Virginia’s on King Street Restaurant. At that time, I was able to click on to the website and read. I did not research the chef at that time.

Later, after reports of one person killed and the shooter in critical condition, I rushed back to the website, hoping to discover who the chef was. When I clicked on the site, I discovered it was temporarily unavailable. I realized there was probably only one reason the site was down. Perhaps the chef was the victim killed. Listening to the news reports, the interviews with Sheriff Al Cannon, and the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, no one would share the name of the deceased victim or the name of the shooter.

While reports continued, a reputable friend sent me the name of Chef Shane Whiddon. Although he looked familiar to me, I do not recall ever having the privilege to interview him for a story. It is unfortunate that I’ve never eaten at Virginia’s on King Street.

Chef Anthony Shane Whiddon was 37-years-old, leaving a wife and two children.

I have no details about the shooter with exception that he was a ‘disgruntled former employee’ and he is in critical condition now.

My heart breaks for the family of Chef Shane Whiddon, Shannon, his wife, and their two lovely children. A neighbor of the family has established a Go Fund Me page, hopeful to raise $10,000 to go to the family.

I’ve lived in the Holy City of Charleston for many years. I recall working as an intern at one of the local TV stations when I was in college. One of my responsibilities was to contact all police departments to see if anything was happening so we could be first with the “if it bleeds it leads,” stories. During my internship, the only report I discovered was a fire. No shootings. Killings. Rapes. Robberies. Drug busts…Nothing newsworthy.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure to know many successful chefs as students when I worked at Johnson & Wales University. Many of them are internationally famous, earning many awards for the amazing and tantalizing foods created by their talents, and many of these chefs chose to remain in Charleston. I suppose you could say, I have been blessed. Yes, indeed!

Now, almost daily there is a shooting. Drug busts and robberies. I ask myself: What has happened to the Holy City of Charleston?

Yes. This beautiful city has grown. Reportedly, we have lots of hopeful new residents moving into the lowcountry daily. I suppose with growth comes crimes. Now, we have crimes on a daily basis. I have been told by a number of people about how easy it is to get a weapon in South Carolina. I suppose I’m from the old school and don’t believe in weapons, but — this is South Carolina and in the Holy City, apparently it is rather easy to get a weapon. So sad. And now, another innocent victim is gone, all because a ‘disgruntled former employee walked into a restaurant and killed the chef.’

Since I am active within the hospitality industry, knowing many of the leaders of food and beverage and hospitality, I pray everyone will come together to assist the family of Chef Shane Whiddon. Now, his wife will be a single mom, raising two children who probably will never understand why their daddy was taken away by someone shooting and killing him. Just how do you explain that to a child? Yesterday morning, Chef left his family to go to work, creating delicious Southern foods for the guests at Virginia’s on King Street. He never came home.

Just what do you say when the children ask: “Where’s my daddy? Why can’t he come home to me? I miss my daddy.”

Chef Shane Whiddon was a family man. He had a generous heart and soul. I checked the Go Fund Me site only a moment ago. Contributions raised in only nine hours: $5,280.

No doubt the Holy City of Charleston feels the pain and loss, and so do I.

Such a sad day today. We are expecting more storms this afternoon probably like the torrential storms pouring down while the police officers rushed around to protect our city.  I must say, they did an amazing job yesterday. Makes me proud of our Holy City.

To the family and friends of Chef Shane Whiddon, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray God will guide all of you and give you strength during this traumatic time of grief.

If you would like to contribute to the Go Fund Me page for Chef Shane Whiddon, visit: