In St. Martin Parish, the Town of Henderson is remembering Chef Lionel Robin, who was killed in a plane crash in California. He owned Robin’s Restaurant and was a chef at Tabasco Restaurant 1868. Many who know him, like Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette, remember him well.
“Every time you’d go there his food was pretty consistent. He was a finicky guy, he wanted it good. It was very good,” Collette said.
“I’ve been knowing Lionel all my life. I never heard anybody say anything bad about him. He was a good guy and he was willing to help whenever possible. One thing… his passion in life was hunting,” Collette said.
Collette said hunting was the very last thing his friend and a family member did before the plane crash. Robin and the pilot died. Collette said their plane hit a flock of birds before going down in a retention pond near a rice field.
Although Robin’s restaurant is now closed down, it was a staple in the community. That was a learning ground for those wanting to continue the legacy. The new owner of the restaurant, Derk Wyatt, says he is a better man because he knew Robin.
“My very first job was in 74′ when they opened the restaurant. I actually worked as a busboy for Mr. Lionel and Mrs. Peggy. It was just a fantastic place,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said his first boss was supposed to be at his grand opening.
“This place in the hearts and minds of everyone is Robin’s. It will always be Robin’s just like Pats will always be Pats. It’s just some things in our culture that are forever and Robin’s will always be one of them. Great restaurant and a great great man,” Wyatt said.
The new owners say they will be changing the name of the restaurant, but they are not sure when they will take down the original sign.
“I don’t know what funeral home they’re going to put him in, but they’re going to need an extension. Everybody knew him. Everybody,” Collette said.