With rooftop repairs completed, Nana’s Seafood & Soul reopened yesterday after a brief hiatus. But the restaurant returned to business without delivery driver William “Billy” Blue, who died on May 7. He was 73.
“Everyone knew Billy Blue,” says Nana’s owner Kane McNeil. “He was a great all-around guy.”
McNeil a few years ago hired Blue to ferry turkey wings, okra soup, garlic shrimp, oxtail purloo and other iconic Lowcountry dishes to Nana’s office-bound fans. In addition to being McNeil’s godfather, Blue had worked for various carrier companies, so was familiar with the area. That geographical knowledge was highly valued at Nana’s, where deliveries account for more than half of the restaurant’s orders.
“He worked every day, up until last month when the sickness started taking over,” McNeil says. “But he still had the stickers on his car.”
According to McNeil, Blue was a familiar figure in the community long before he affixed Nana’s signage to his peacock blue hatchback. A talented singer, Blue sang in various gospel groups, including the Travelling Echoes, founded on Johns Island in 1946. Blue joined the ensemble in 1988.
“To hear him sing ‘I Was Born by the River’ was simply marvelous,” longtime friend Darla Godfrey wrote in an online memory book.
Blue is survived by his father and nine children, including pop star Darius Rucker.