Roux Volume 1 Issue 3 2021

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VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 2021

PROUD TO SERVE, THOSE WHO SERVE.

© 2017 Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser® Beer, St. Louis, MO



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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER • Publisher/Owner Joan Broussard • Assistant to the Publisher Sylvia Broussard

Joan Broussard and brother Glenn Broussard

• Editor Joelle Polisky • Art Director Ann Reh • Ad Designer Mandie David Kiddy Robyn Holbrook Kelly Carlson • Writers Jean Allen Helen Balensiefen Bow Scott Brazda Lee Ann Broussard Dwayne Fatherree Jacque Fruge’ Taylor Geiger Seth Gilgus Lisa Hanchey Rob Kirkpatrick Matthew Miller Jay Walker • Contact us 337-501-5626 joan@roux.vip

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ROUX

THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME…

oux is a foundation, a bold ingredient on its own. When layered with other flavors and spices, it becomes a prize-winning dish that undeniably screams Louisiana. After spending my career in lifestyle publishing, I wanted to offer ROUX to Louisiana as a tribute to my own foundation. In Louisiana, we celebrate life like no other. We are famous both near and abroad for our unique interpretation of the music and cuisine of our French, Acadian, and Creole ancestors. The different spices of a melting pot of cultures boils down to a delicious stew of hard-working and hard-playing people who celebrate life to the fullest. ROUX is more than a magazine. It is owned and operated by proud Louisiana natives. As we see it, it is our mission to bring our readers the absolute best of what Louisiana has to offer. People come here from every corner of the globe to be immersed in our contagious energy. To dance our two-step. To hear our zydeco. To sip our sweet tea. To witness and join us in letting the good times roll. ROUX is for those who dare to live in the moment and anyone who loves the food, music, culture, hunting, fishing, and joie de vivre of the great state of Louisiana. We humbly submit this issue to you, the reader, and we hope you enjoy our coverage of the past, present and future of this beautiful place we call home. This issue is dedicated to my heavenly brother, Glenn Joseph Broussard. He was everything a big brother should be ... loving, protective and supportive. We had a lot of great memories, but what stays with me most is that he taught me everything there was to know about rock and roll. By the time I was in third grade, I knew all the lyrics to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, ACDC and Stevie Ray Vaughan, just to name a few. He took me to see Foreigner, the first rock concert in the Cajundome. Glenn was always a huge supporter of my magazines. This edition’s cover is chosen for him. The artist Tony Bernard was one of his best friends and absolutely his favorite artist. This one’s for you, Glenn! Merci et Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Joan Broussard joan@roux.vip

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CONTENTS VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 2021

FUTURE 6 Ready for the Snowboarding Challenge Baton Rouge native becomes paralympic champion CULTURE 13 Ode to Joan Williams Founder of Pack & Paddle gone but not forgotten 18 Where family, culture and food collide The Huval family has built its fortunes on Acadiana cuisine and history ON THE COVER Artist Tony Bernard: Cajun Mona Lisa

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(Photo courtesy of Four J Photography)

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FOOD & DRINK

MUSIC

TRAVEL

28 Nicauds’ Niche Nicaud Brothers – Taking the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Dining Scene by Storm

47 Gerald Gruenig: Is in Love With Acadiana 51 Jill Butler: The Rare Gem in the Corner of the Stage 52 Cow Island Live! A Wide Field of Musical Experiences 56 Erica Fox: A Story that Will Not Stop 59 Julian Primeaux: Another Piece of His ‘Heart’ 60 Chubby Carrier: ‘Nobody got no cash’

72 Blancaneaux Lodge Where a powerful location, luxurious accommodations and profound adventure collide

33 Gumbo Soul Timmy Credeur and the great tradition of Louisiana cooking 35 Grillin’ with the Guru See what everyone’s talking about

MUST DO 66 EXPOSURE: First-ever selfie experience opens in downtown Lafayette

74 Napa Valley’s Hottest Tasting Destination Inglenook Winery’s new Grand Salon tasting room reopens, ready to impress 78 Louisiana Cajun Mansion Cajun Hospitality in a Refined Setting

40 Nash’s: Now That’s Italian! Nash Barreca is a born restaurateur

80 Travel via ‘The Private Jet on Wheels’ Why, yes! Sign me up, cher!

42 Drink Cool, Be Cool Take-out frozen drinks are ready for tailgating 6 SPORTS 85 Navigating Troubled Times: Adversity tested the First Couple of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, but still, they persevered together

82 Lafayette Goes to Alaska Acadiana broadcaster Debbie Ray retires in Alaska and shares travel tips

88 The Big Catch 93 The Fright Trail: World-class horror right here in Acadiana ARTS 42

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96 Tony Bernard ROUX

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READY FOR THE SNOWBOARDING FUTURE


CHALLENGE

BATON ROUGE NATIVE BECOMES PARALYMPIC CHAMPION By Scott Brazda

Photos courtesy of Brenna Huckaby


FUTURE

“Am I a role model?”

asks Brenna Huckaby, pondering my question. “I’m not ignorant that people are looking at me, so there’s definitely a level of that. And while I didn’t put myself in that role … I am constantly trying to better myself.” The argument could be made that Huckaby’s simple refusal to quit on life — even when she had her right leg amputated when she was 14 — is the ultimate way of trying to better herself. To not quit, when many would understand if she did? That is the stuff of heroes. Brenna Huckaby was born 25 years ago in Baton Rouge and, at the age of eight, gymnastics was her first love of athletics. “I just loved that you were never as good as you can be, and that there was always something else you could accomplish,” she recalls. She loved the sport, particularly the balance beam and parallel bars. But when she entered her 13th year, her body began to push back a bit. But … nothing to worry about. Right? “I had some knee pain, and it would come and go, and they didn’t see anything on the x-ray,” recalls Huckaby. “Every once in a while, I wouldn’t be able to straighten my leg, and some people thought I was just being lazy. But for the most part, after I took some ibuprofen and stretched a bit, it would go away. The doctors were not worried.” But ‘worry’ wasn’t very far away. It was just biding its time before it would enter the Huckabys’ lives in a most disruptive way. “When I was 14, I went on a run with my brother, and afterward I could barely stand.” Her parents made a return visit to the doctor. “That’s when they found a tumor on the x-ray. On my right leg.” But the gravity of the situation wasn’t fully realized at Huckaby’s young age. “I didn’t really understand what a tumor was, what cancer was. All that mattered to me was that my gymnastics season was over before it even started.” Presented with options, Brenna’s initial battle plan was to try and save her leg. However, after chemotherapy sessions brought some initial success, the tumor soon soon doubled in size, and there was only one life-saving option remaining: Amputation. “Honestly,” begins Huckaby, “in that life-or-death situation, you don’t really think about what’s next, but what’s going on 8 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 2021

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in this moment. The decision was really easy, although the next chapter was tough. I did start to think about it.” Slowly but surely, the realities — make that, mistakenly perceived realities — began to sink in. “I began to consider that gymnastics or any form of athletics might not be a part of the next chapter of my life.” She did try to hang around her gymnastics team for a while, “… but that was too painful, watching my teammates continue on. That was really, really hard,” remembers Huckaby. “Being an athlete was such a part of me.” Huckaby was determined to find something to fill that competitive void in her soul, and she tried sports like swimming, soccer and even diving. “… But I was scared of heights,” she laughs. And none of those provided the thrill or challenge she needed. Then, it was her hospital — the one whose staff had saved her life — that provided an outlet that would save her spirit. “My hospital used to send children on a rehabilitation ski trip,” says Huckaby, “and I wanted to snowboard. There were similarities to what I did in gymnastics, in particular, that reminded me of the balance beam. And I was willing to try anything that might give me a piece of my life back.” Brenna Huckaby fell in love with snowboarding almost from the very beginning. “Now, it was hard, and initially, yeah, I sucked at it,” she laughs. “But very quickly, I embraced all of the levels, and yes, it was scary. But I liked the challenge and the thrill, and I knew I could be good at it if I gave it some time.” Now, let’s be honest here: there is a logistical problem with a Baton Rouge teenager trying to cultivate her passion for snowboarding, right? “Yes,” she chuckles, “living in Louisiana does create a rather big challenge in that regard.” But Huckaby and her family found a way, as her mom found a nursing position in Utah which allowed Brenna to move and spend her last year and a half of high school in the mountains, attending classes and … snowboarding. Lots and lots of snowboarding. She joined a snowboarding team, so she could learn the finer points of the sport, and she began to take part in local competitions. Hard work and drive paid off, and Huckaby became good at the sport — really good — so much so that she qualified for a national event in 2014 where a pivotal moment took place. “I podiumed,” she smiled. “And that sort of told me, ‘I am really good at this.’”


It has only grown from there. She was invited to a World Cup event where she placed second, and at 18, she joined the U.S. National Paralympic Snowboarding Team. “Sure, at first there was the natural self-doubt, the ‘I don’t belong here’ thoughts. But then you realize, ‘I do belong here; I did earn it.’” She pauses for a second and then laughs, “I guess it’s worked out, though I do know the speed at which I’ve moved up is not the norm.” Two gold medals at the 2018 Paralympic Games are a testament to this. 2018 brought yet another challenge for Huckaby — not health-related this time, but rather, body-image related. “Sports Illustrated asked me to pose for them. I was in Europe and got a call asking, ‘Can you come to Aruba?’ Within 36 hours I went from Europe, to a swimsuit in Aruba, and back to Europe to compete.” Huckaby saw the potential this could have, serving as a role model to others. “I was very aware of what this could mean, and it all turned out in such a positive way.” At the age of 25, she is considered young in her sport, and being a wife and mother to two girls (plus actively contributing to her social media content and working with her sponsorship team) hasn’t slowed her down a bit. “I’m just so honored to be a part of that group that’s going out there and crushing it. We don’t know what our limits are, and we’re just constantly pushing it and setting new standards for what can be done.” R ROUX

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CULTURE

Ode to Joan Williams

FOUNDER OF PACK & PADDLE GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN By Lisa Hanchey

Joan sitting at her desk in the original office upstairs at Pack & Paddle (Circa 1977)

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CULTURE

O Top right: Doc and Joan Williams. (Photo courtesy of Becky Williams); Joan and her son Doug canoeing the Guadalupe River in the 70’s. (Photo courtesy of Williams family); Bottom left: Painting of original Pack & Paddle building painted by local artist Ben Earl Looney. Joan Williams traded Looney a canoe for the painting. ; Opposite page: Family listed left to right: Lester Williams, Doug Williams, Clarence Williams (grandfather), Doc Williams, Virginia Williams (grandmother), Joan Williams, John Williams and Cheryll Wiliams. Pack & Paddle Christmas Eve 1978. (Photo courtesy of Williams family).

n July 24, Joan Montegut Williams, founder of Pack & Paddle, passed away. But her legacy will never be forgotten. The wife and mother of five was truly ahead of her time. When she founded the outdoor store in 1974, few women-owned businesses existed. Yet, Williams made it work while rearing her family, until she retired in 1999, selling the shop to her son, John Williams, and his wife Becky. How did she do it? Her son, John, tells her story. AN ATYPICAL HOUSEWIFE Born in 1934, Joan Montegut grew up in St. Martinville, graduating from Mercy High School. She went on to graduate from LSU with an accounting degree in 1955 — uncommon for women of that generation. A year later, she married Dick Williams and had five children in five years. As a young mother, she was a typical 1960s housewife — sewing her two daughters’ clothes, joining the Junior League and starting a Supper Club. But her adventurous side soon surfaced. On a fishing trip to Arkansas’ White River in the 1960s, Dick and Joan discovered the Buffalo River, which “became a spiritual place for our family to discover the outdoors and what outdoor adventuring was about,” son John Williams recalls. The family’s early trips were in aluminum jon boats but quickly progressed to canoes. “Those early trips on the Buffalo were keys to Mom seeing that there was a world of outdoor recreation out there that people in Lafayette mostly were unaware of,” Williams says.

A BORN LEADER When her daughters Louise and Cheryll were young, Joan was a Girl Scout leader. Always an overachiever, she became the leader of one of the first female explorer posts. But it was not just any Girl Scout troop. “Mom had a vision — and her visions were never small,” John explains. “The Girl Scout troop became a finely tuned group of girls that could canoe whitewater, camp and sail. And most important of all, they could beat the boys at the SeaScout competitions every time.” When the troop decided that the girls should have some canoes for the explorer post, Joan finagled a Grumman canoe dealership by getting several friends to buy canoes — along with enough for the explorer post. “This planted the seed that maybe an outdoor shop in Lafayette might be a good idea,” John says. AHEAD OF HER TIME In 1974, Joan launched Pack & Paddle at 1539 East Pinhook Road — now located less than a mile away at 601 East Pinhook Road — on the

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bank of the Vermilion River. “Her ability to see what would participating in outdoor activities could be in South Louisiana,” work in the future and the drive to make it a reality were two John reflects. Over the years, Joan and Dick led many local trips, as well as things that made Joan who she was,” John reflects fondly. “I think my Dad knew this about her when he went along with excursions to Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina and Maine. The couple also started a bicycle touring company, luring visitors the idea of creating a shop selling canoes and camping gear.” But Joan was driven, as well as resourceful. During Pack & to Louisiana to enjoy its food, culture and easy riding. Joan also founded Cycle Zydeco, which Paddle’s first Christmas season in continues to draw riders. “My 1974, people advised her to stock My parents didn’t run Pack parents didn’t run Pack & Paddle up. Joan warned her children that to make money,” John reveals. all of their Christmas gifts would & Paddle to make money,” “Mom did it to change the world.” be coming from the store. As usual, John reveals. “Mom did it to Joan had packages wrapped and under the tree. Then about a week HER LEGACY change the world. before the holiday, the store started A few months ago, John ran into Yvonne Saloom at Champagne’s getting busy. “One by one, the grocery. The two were chatting about Joan, and Mrs. Saloom packages started disappearing from the house,” John recalls. She passed along her love for adventure to her children. remarked about how much she had always admired her. When John “She could get us kids to do nearly anything, from learning asked why, she responded, “It was the ’60s and we were all just to make fish nets to Morse code to taxidermy,” John explains, housewives. Joan showed us what it meant to be a modern woman.” Joan Williams passed away on July 24, 2021. “She was “and that Tom Sawyer quality carried over to Pack & Paddle always about the future and not the past,” John says fondly. and the residents of Lafayette.” Joan built Pack & Paddle into a successful business. “She “And she always wanted to celebrate life. She embodied the had a passion for introducing people to how wonderful term joie de vivre.” R ROUX

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CULTURE

Where family, culture and food collide THE HUVAL FAMILY HAS BUILT ITS FORTUNES ON ACADIANA CUISINE AND HISTORY By Dwayne Fatherree

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Pat’s son and general manager Harvey Huval (Photo courtesy of Dwayne Fatherree)

ost restaurants, in addition to serving food, serve an experience. Whether it’s the atmosphere, the decor, the menu, there is a purpose at work to enhance the dining experience and draw the customer back for more. Intentionally or not, Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant and Bar — better known simply as Pat’s — in Henderson, Louisiana, has done that. Since the first lunch stand opened 70 years ago, it has grown to shape the culture of the area rather than just portraying it. “One thing about this place, about us – we’re real people,” said Harvey Huval, the son of founder Pat Huval and the current general manager of the Pat’s empire. “We don’t deal with fakers.” It’s hard to fake anything when you’re surrounded by your family and extended family every day. His youngest brother, Jude, is the current head chef. Although he enrolled in the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, completing his studies in 2008, he had a lifetime of knowledge before he ever set foot on the campus. “My mom showed me how to cook – showed me everything she had to show me,” Jude said. “And I wanted to put a twist on what my mom had taught me. I said, ‘I want to take it a little further.’” Perhaps the biggest change that came out of Jude’s time in Baton Rouge was the addition of sauces, both savory and sweet. The cream sauce is also part of Catfish Patrick, a dish that resembles two cinnamon buns, except that instead of pastry, strips of succulent catfish wind around a core of sweet crabmeat, with a crust of herbs and spices alongside the cream sauce. Huval also applied his saucier skills to improve the rum sauce served with the restaurant’s bread pudding. Additionally, he introduced a couple of new dessert items: crème brulée and blackberry cobbler. “So that’s what culinary school has done – allowed us to tweak our menu,” said Huval. “And keep our business rolling.” Harvey’s and Jude’s sister, Cynthia Huval Domingue, oversees the operation on the days Harvey is off. Like her siblings, she remembers the restaurant’s various incarnations, from the drive-up lunch shack which grew into a larger restaurant and dance hall, to a later cinder-block structure — then the current location, a sprawling complex across Bayou Amy from the original Pat’s site. ROUX

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She’s also very familiar with the other local residents, the alligators that gather along the outdoor patio over the bayou, waiting for a table scrap or two during dining hours. “There are many alligators in Bayou Amy,” she said. “But, we did have an alligator pit at one time where we had three gators. We used to feed the gators and everything. And then, eventually, the bottom of the pit rotted out, and they swam to freedom. “But they still come back to get fed,” Domingue continued. “And they will only eat bread. You can throw French fries, you can throw the best entrée we have over here, they are not gonna eat it. If it’s not the bread, they’re not havin’ it. Marshmallows? No. They just want the bread.” She said that the ‘gator community has learned that Pat’s diners can be a soft touch. “They’ll come back right there and wait to be fed,” Domingue said. “There’s even some new ones. There was a baby out there today.” It’s not just immediate family that defines the culture at Pat’s. Charles and Millard Hebert, who grew up across the 20

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levee from Pat’s current location, have worked at the restaurant since the 1960s. Charles Hebert serves as institutional memory, having worked alongside Pat Huval from the early days, before there was an interstate highway. Back then, anyone wanting to sample the restaurant’s wares had to drive along the Henderson levee road to get to the place. “You would have had to be there to see this to believe it,” Charles Hebert said. “We used to sell $30,000 from Monday to Friday afternoon. We’d close out everything at 4 o’clock. Then, from Friday afternoon until Sunday night when we’d close, we’d sell another $45,000.” It wasn’t always peaches and cream, or even rice and gravy. Charles recalled one time that he and Pat had a disagreement. “I don’t know why, but something rubbed me the wrong way,” Charles said. “They had a club across the street. So, I left and walked over there.” He started working there but wasn’t content to let things lie. “You know that song, ‘Take This Job and Shove It,’” he said. “I played that f ***in’ record all day long over there — loud, so he could hear it.” The mood, mercurial as it may have

been, cooled over the ensuing days. “I worked over there for about a couple of months,” he said. “And then I came back. He came to talk to me, and we smoothed things out.” Pat Huval had a way with people, that’s for sure. Richard Calais, who runs the Atchafalaya Club, a Cajun dancehall adjacent to the restaurant, is a relative newcomer. Calais had recently quit his job running a club called Wrangler’s in Carencro when Pat approached him about managing the Atchafalaya Room in 2004. “Pat drove up to my house one day, knocked on my door and said, ‘Hey, man – you wanna come run my club?’” Calais said. “He was an old coonass, you know. I said, ‘Yeah, Pat.’ So we


CULTURE

Left: Manager Richard Calais; Photo of Pat’s wife Agnes Huval; Above: Pat’s daughter Cynthia Huval Domingue; Chef Jude Huval; Melvin Broussard, bartender, who started working at Pat’s when he was 14. He’s 34, and already has 20 years logged at the restaurant.

agreed on a price. And he said, ‘Hey, you can bring your boy with you.’” His boy, Richard Jr., is still there, working security for the Atchafalaya Room. “He was raised in here, like everybody else,” Calais laughed. With gym-honed muscles and an imposing profile, complete with a white Van Dyke beard, Calais looks the part of the serious operator who brooks no nonsense. “Really, I run the club,” Calais said. “But anytime they have trouble — hotel, restaurant, anything — they call me. We have people come and say, ‘Well, you’re just a bouncer. What are you? Just a bouncer.’ No, cat. I’m the guy that could run you outta here.” Altogether, there are five separate businesses combined in the Pat’s compound. Along with the restaurant and the dance hall, there’s a 28-room hotel (the Edgewater Inn), a seafood processing facility, and a pre-packaged roux sideline. The word that got tossed around a lot to describe Pat Huval was “visionary.” He had only a second- or third-grade education, but whatever he could imagine, he could draw and present to someone to have it built. He drew plans for various parts of the restaurant itself, as well as equipment he designed to make commercial-size batches of roux. “This might have been the second one,” Jude said, showing off the machine where the roux was created. “In our machine, it takes 100 pounds of flour and 11 gallons of oil. It takes four hours for the first batch – and about three hours after the pot’s hot.” Inside the hopper, four blades turn, slowly scraping the heated sides of the tank where the ingredients are mixed. Pat Huval also knew how to envision the people he wanted working in his restaurant. In addition to the Heberts and Calais, the Broussard family also holds down a presence at Pat’s. Deborah Broussard works as a cook, while Melvin Broussard, a Cecilia native, tends bar. He is highly recommended for his Bloody Marys, a drink that has taken on a new life in the hands of Acadiana bartenders. “I do have a good Bloody Mary,” Broussard agreed. At age 34, he has already worked 20 years at Pat’s, starting out at the age of 14. “I think it’s the love I put in it,” he said. “Each one has a little bit of love.” Calais, who had been listening from a few feet away, grunted and moved away as the schmalz increased. A customer chatted with Melvin for a few moments before settling on the Bloody Mary for her drink order. “Ok, I’ll get you a Bloody Mary, my love,” Melvin said with a lilt and a smile as he set to work. Calais, from stage right, called out. “Don’t mess it up, Melvin,” he teased. “I’ll have to break one of your legs.” Together, the blend of personalities and abilities make for an unforgettable experience, one that Harvey Huval is now responsible for carrying on. “I’m the general manager. I oversee the whole thing, so it’s all my fault,” joked Huval. “If we do well, it’s me. If we do bad, it’s me. But I’m a good driver. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. Work out three days a week. I’m a critical thinker and a multi-tasker.” “And I got good staff,” he added. “We love what we do. I take care of them, and they take care of me.” R ROUX

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FOOD & drink


Nicauds’ Niche

NICAUD BROTHERS – TAKING THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST’S DINING SCENE BY STORM By Lisa Hanchey

Rooftop Taco and Tequila Bar (Photo courtesy of Rooftop Taco and Tequila Bar); Opposite: Bacchus on the Beach (Photo courtesy of Bacchus on the Beach)

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FOOD

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ourdan and Field Nicaud were born restaurateurs. Their paternal grandparents owned restaurants in Chalmette and Gentilly, La., and passed on their culinary skills to son Kent Nicaud. It was Kent who taught his boys how to cook. At age 21, Jourdan bought a piece of property in Gulfport, Miss., and launched his first restaurant, Bacchus, named for his NOLA krewe. “For me, the most fun I had all year long was riding in the Bacchus parade,” Jourdan explains. “So that’s what I wanted the Bacchus restaurant to be — where it would be the most fun you’ll ever have when you walk in the restaurant.” Younger brother Field occasionally helped out at Bacchus. With Jourdan’s encouragement, Field attended culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York. When he finished, Field joined Jourdan at Bacchus. Jourdan describes Bacchus as “coastal casual with good New Orleans-style food,” where patrons could order a po’boy or a great steak and “be happy either way.” The concept caught on, and after selling the Gulfport property, Jourdan opened on Bacchus on the Beach in Pass Christian. At Bacchus’s Pass Christian location, you can enjoy a Gulf front view while sipping on creative cocktails and slurping on oysters, gorging on po’boys and indulging on specials like the Famous Pork Chop, offered for $12.50 on Mondays. For Sunday brunch, the Nicaud brothers serve up from-scratch cooking using their grandmother’s recipes. Bacchus on the Beach performed so well that the brothers expanded across the coast with new restaurant concepts. “I saw all the things New Orleans had and wanted to bring those things to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” New Orleans-bred Jourdan explains. “What we do best is we go into areas, and we bring what’s missing in that area.”

For me, the most fun I had all year long was riding in the Bacchus parade. So that’s what I wanted the Bacchus restaurant to be — where it would be the most fun you’ll ever have when you walk in the restaurant. – Jourdan Nicaud

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FOOD FIELD OF DREAMS

Field opened his first solo venture, Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar, in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis. Located adjacent to the Pearl Hotel, Field’s features an oyster bar and hand-cut dry-aged steaks cooked in Wagyu butter. Oyster options range from raw to Gris Gris and change weekly. There’s also a specialty cocktail menu with ever-changing options. Field’s is opening a second location in Biloxi, projected to open at the end of 2021. FILL YOUR TANK

Moving down the coast, you’ll find Fill-up with Billups, a breakfast and late-night spot in Biloxi and Pass Christian. Billups has a “Café du Monde feel but without the beignets,” Jourdan explains. The eclectic spot offers high-end breakfast and brunch by day, and pizza and wings at night. Morning specials include handcrafted Belgian waffles and Hangover Parts IV, V and VI, with the Deluxe Hungover Games to recover after an epic night out. Or, you can start (or end) your night with a build-your-own pizza or 1-lb Second Street Wings with your choice of sauces. And naturally, there’s a bar. “It’s a fun restaurant — diner scale but a little higher-end,” Jourdan says. FIRING THINGS UP

Further down the coast in Ocean Springs is Charred, a steak and oyster bar, helmed by Chef Milton Joachim. The creative chef formerly worked under Emeril Lagasse at NOLA and Delmonico’s. Jourdan describes Charred as fine dining with “old school New Orleans dishes,” raw and inventive oysters, prime steaks and weekend brunch. Through the restaurant’s center is an enormous tree created by the same designer behind Orlando’s Animal Kingdom. “It’s got a great following,” he says proudly. TALKING TEQUILA

Also in Ocean Springs is Rooftop Taco and Tequila Bar, a threestory spot featuring the only rooftop bar in the area. Inspired by Iron Chef Jose Garces, Field creates his tacos with a twist, making them “Southern-Cajun style.” Chef Rachel Zornes creates the unique appetizers, including Crispy Salmon Skin Chips, as well as her tacos, like her handmade Carnitas Taco. Zornes hand-grinds her salsa, served with fresh fried chips. “Everything is just handmade, and done top-notch,” Field shares. On the second floor is a VIP area with two private rooms – Heaven, complete with angels and other enlightening spirits, and Hell, decorated with devils and flames. At the rooftop bar, Field offers eight tequilas, margaritas with fresh fruit purees and tequila flights. General Manager Mary Pelton created the mimosa tower, which went viral. “We’ve really kicked it off and had fun with it,” Field says. THAT’S NOT ALL, FOLKS Left to Right: Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar (Photo courtesy of Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar); Fillup with Billups (Photo courtesy of Fill-up with Billups); Charred (Photo courtesy of Charred)

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Coming soon is The Deck, a beachside hangout with casual fare like sandwiches and tacos, and adult libations including beer and daiquiris. Also in the works are a dumpling place, a Nashville hot chicken place, Field of (food) Flights and hotels. These guys are still young – Jourdan is 31, and Field is 25 — so look for more from these ambitious brothers in the future. They are on fire! R


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For Portraits Call Kelly 337.962.5432 kellysheadshots.com

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FOOD Chicken, Sausage, & Shrimp Gumbo INGREDIENTS 1 Large chicken, quartered 2 lbs Smoked sausage 2 lbs Large shrimp 1 Onion 4 stalks Celery 3 tbsp Chopped garlic 3 tbsp Chicken base 2 cups Roux Red pepper Salt

Gumbo Soul

TIMMY CREDEUR AND THE GREAT TRADITION OF LOUISIANA COOKING

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By Jean Allen

OUX Magazine is honored to have Louisiana-Cooking legend Timmy Credeur as our in-house chef. Locally born and raised, cooking practically runs in this restauranteur’s blood. Credeur grew up working alongside his mother cooking and bussing tables at Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse, where his parents also met. In 1973, he teamed up with Donny Landry II to open Don’s Seafood Hut. In 1975, they expanded their menu and moved to their current location on Johnston Street, with himself as chef and mother as partner. Five years later, he would kickstart (and win) the first-ever gumbo and chili cookoff. In 1985, the mother-son duo would open a second New Orleans location. There he remained for a time before pursuing other restaurant ventures in Orlando and then settling back home again in Lafayette. Now retired, Timmy Credeur has spent the past 15 years working as a private caterer, while spending quality time with his wife Kitty and their three children. After so many years, he still does it for the love of it. “What I’d enjoy most is sending out the food and seeing the customer’s face,” Credeur reminisces. “I just love to make people smile with food. That’s pretty much it. And I’ve succeeded because I get to do it every day.” When asked what it is he enjoys cooking most, Credeur hardly takes a moment to think. “Gumbo,” he replies immediately. “It definitely has to be making gumbo.” Credeur has graciously offered to disclose his award-winning gumbo recipe just in time for tailgating season! Easy-to-make and tried and true, make sure to pour a bowl for family and friends — oh, and per an unwritten rule of Credeur’s recipe, add a little love. R ROUX

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Season chicken with salt and pepper 2. In a large pot with 1 gallon of water boiling, place chicken 3. After 15 minutes, add 1 onion and 4 stalks of celery (chopped) to the pot 4. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic 5. Add 2 pounds of sliced (1/8 th inch ) sausage 6. Take the chicken out of the pot and debone it 7. Place the chicken back in the pot 8. Add 3 tablespoons of chicken base to the pot 9. Add 2 cups of your choice of roux to the pot 10. Let it cook for half an hour * TIP: Add 2 tablespoons of gravy master or kitchen bouquet for color! * 11. Season with red pepper for taste 12. Add peeled shrimp to the pot 13. Add chopped green onions 14. Skim off excess grease Enjoy!

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Jack Miller’s Cajun Dipping Sauce is a great spicy substitute for ketchup or tomato sauce. It’s perfect for shrimp, oysters or crab-meat cocktails. It makes a fantastic dip for boiled shrimp or crawfish. It’s tasty on any fried foods or as a topping for hamburgers, hot dogs and meatloaf. Pour it over cream cheese for an easy and exciting dip.

S IFT PACK ORDER G CHRISTMAS R NOW FO Cajun Pirogue Gift Pack

JACKMILLERS.com


FOOD Grilled pork tenderloin with dark chocolate balsamic glaze

Just a couple of Gurus - Curt Guillory (R) and Keith Guidry (L). (Photo courtesy of Curt Guillory)

Grillin’ with the Guru SEE WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

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By Jacque Fruge’

eek after week, the grillin’ gurus, Keith Guidry and Curt Guillory, bring you their unique brand of delicious entertainment. See what all the buzz is about and get your weekly dose of cooking wisdom, straight from the gurus themselves: Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. or anytime online at kdcg.com and on their Facebook page at facebook.com/cajungrilling.

No other dish better illustrates how unexpected flavors can work together than this one. While the pork and the glaze each have their own unique flavors, the two together are magical. Any flavor balsamic vinegar can be used if the dark chocolate variety can’t be found. Pay close attention to the doneness of the pork. It should be removed at no higher than 135°, then allowed to rest for 7-10 minutes. The glaze can and should be made ahead and allowed to come to room temperature. INGREDIENTS FOR GLAZE ¼ cup dark chocolate balsamic vinegar 1½ tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped) METHOD 1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. 2. Once boiling, cook for 1 minute, then remove. INGREDIENTS FOR PORK LOIN 2-3 lbs. pork tenderloin Olive oil Louisiana Love Seasoning Blend

Keith Guidry’s day job sends him all over the country. He gets to visit, and cook with, grill enthusiasts from all over. As a result, he brings great ideas back to the studio that get blended with our region’s incredible Cajun cooking — and greatness is the result! Curt Guillory is always learning about food. Recently he shared with the audience that proteins are like coiled springs and how that relates to “stickiness” … very interesting. Curt is also big on fusion cooking, combining food from different cultures.

METHOD 1. Prepare a hardwood fire. 2. Pat tenderloin dry with paper towels, lightly oil with olive oil, and season well on all sides. 3. Grill over direct fire for 10-15 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 135°. Remove, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 7-10 minutes. 4. Slice into 1½ inch pieces, arrange on bed of cauliflower rice, wild rice, or other grain, and top with glaze.

THEY LOVE WHAT THEY DO

Stay hungry.

THE GURUS

When asked their favorite thing to do, Curt said, “There is nothing we enjoy more than feeding people. Keith and I have spent the majority of our lives cooking for our family and friends and the feeling of seeing smiles on satisfied faces. It’s what we love to do.” R ROUX

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FOOD

Nash’s: Now That’s Italian!

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NASH BARRECA IS A BORN RESTAURATEUR By Lisa Hanchey

ash Barreca is the real deal. He’s been in the restaurant business for 54 years, starting at his grandfather’s circa 1944 restaurant, Frank’s Steakhouse, located on Freret Street in New Orleans. Barreca’s great-grandfather came from Italy to the United States in the 1880s, and his grandparents were fluent in Italian. “They spoke it whenever they didn’t want the grandkids to know what they were saying,” Nash recalls with a laugh. At age 12, Nash reluctantly started working with his father at Frank’s. “Growing up, I always loved riding my bike around uptown New Orleans,” he recalls. “My dad told me, ‘Put that bike away!’ And I started washing dishes.” Though Nash never went to culinary school, he had 40

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cooking in his blood. He learned all of his Italian family’s recipes and also got secret tips from his grandfather’s longtime cooks – Bessie, Sam and Eloise. “Each one of them taught me something,” he shares fondly. After his grandfather’s death, Nash’s brother, David, opened Barreca’s in Metairie. It was there that Nash honed his cooking skills. THERE’S A PLACE FOR US In the early 1980s, Nash made a career change to offshore catering. It was there that he met his wife Jenny, a Marksville, La. native. While courting, Nash brought Jenny for a special date at Viva La Difference, located in an historic circa 1908 Victorian house in Broussard. Following the oil bust, Nash returned to New Orleans to work for his father. But he and Jenny decided that they wanted


to open their own place, so they started scouting locations in Broussard, where her grandparents lived. They discovered that the house where they’d shared their memorable date night was available. So, on July 27, 1999, they purchased their dream property. “We never thought we would own it,” Barreca confides. “We were both scared.” After some major cleanup and refurbishing of the bar – the house had been vacant for over a year – the Barrecas opened Nash’s on Oct. 5, 1999. Borrowing from his brother’s restaurant, Nash developed his menu with a lot of his family Italian recipes, including his grandmother, Josie Gallo’s, marinara sauce. He also added steaks – a nod to his grandfather’s legacy at Frank’s. Nash’s also offers dishes that aren’t offered elsewhere in the area. When available, Barreca has live Maine lobsters in the tank (call first to reserve) and authentic turtle soup – served with real, not mock, turtle. He hand-selects his lump crabmeat and serves the freshest fish available, like sea bass, Mediterranean halibut and Arctic char. “We try our best to get everything fresh,” he promises. Look on the board for daily specials including Jenny’s special salads at lunchtime and appetizers – a recent offering was Stuffed Vegan Portobello Mushrooms with a Ginger-Balsamic Reduction on a bed of spaghetti squash. But if your favorite dish isn’t on the menu, don’t despair. “Our policy always was — and we still stand by it — if we’ve got the ingredients in the kitchen, we’ll make it for you,” Barreca says. Customer favorites include Veal Orleans, baby veal grilled in olive oil, topped with fresh grilled asparagus and jumbo lump crabmeat in a light cream sauce (a ladies’ favorite); the Veal and Spinach Cannelloni, homemade shells (Nash makes his own) stuffed with fresh spinach and ground veal cooked in olive oil with parmesan and ricotta cheese, topped with marinara sauce; and Osso Buco (gentlemen’s preference), a twoinch-thick veal shank braised in olive oil, veal stock, onion, garlic, tomato, carrot, celery and mushrooms cooked for three hours until fork-tender.

All salad dressings are made in house – try the Italian Wop Salad for a traditional treat. And save room for dessert – crème brulée, bread pudding and Bananas Foster sauce are to die for. Nash’s elegant atmosphere makes it the perfect setting for a special occasion, but it’s still casual enough for drop-in dining. The beautiful glassed-in porch overlooking the old oak trees – one split during Hurricane Laura – is popular with patrons. Inside the dining rooms, you’ll find antiques and photos original to the home and a few surprises – rumor has it that the house is haunted! What is Nash’s key to longevity? “My employees are very outgoing, friendly and make you feel like you’re at home,” Barreca shares. “We just like to have a good time and cut up with our customers if we can.” Nash’s houses several dining rooms for private events, including business lunches, bridal luncheons, rehearsal dinners and intimate wedding receptions. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. R

From left to right: Front Entrance of Nash’s (Photo courtesy of Bill Moody); Nash and Jenny (Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Nash’s Restaurant); Grilled Fish Mediterranean; Nash’s haunted angel shelf (Photo courtesy of Bill Moody)

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DRINK

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Drink Cool, Be Cool

TAKE-OUT FROZEN DRINKS ARE READY FOR TAILGATING

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By Matthew Miller

[The frozen drinks] are resealable adult juice boxes.

ailgating season has arrived in Southwest Louisiana. And if you know anything about tailgating, it means not only great football games and the company of friends, but lots of delicious food and drinks. You also know that cheering for your favorite team, be it UL, LSU, or another, can get heated — and so can the weather! Frozen drink pouches make things easier and more convenient with frozen drink pouches from Market Eatz, located at 819 E. Broussard Road in Broussard in the McLain Marketplace, past the new roundabout off of Kaliste Saloom Road.

Driving the short distance from Lafayette to Market Eatz will acquaint you with their inventive idea of frozen drinks available for take-out in resealable bags. The drinks themselves are all made in-house and offered in four flavors: Juju’s Margarita, Frosé, Bellini, and Kosmo. They come in three sizes, but let’s be honest – if you want to get some for tailgating, you want the largest size. The small bag is $10, the quarts are $20, and the gallons are $60. According to General Manager Seth Aymond, “They are resealable adult juice boxes.”

As for the alcohol level, Aymond says, “They are definitely strong enough to have a great time at the beach or poolside, and especially while tailgating.” If you want to try out the tempting frozen flavors but don’t need large amounts, Aymond says, “We also started making our own ‘boozy popsicles’ which have also been a big hit this summer.” Market Eatz also has a full food menu, and you can choose dine-in or take-out options for both food and drinks. In addition to their signature frozen drinks, they also offer other cocktails plus a generous beer menu. As always, drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive. Owners Sylvia and Bryan McLain invite customers to discover everything they offer. Learn more at marketeatz.com or by phone at 337-565EATZ. R ROUX

Top to bottom: Enjoy frozen drink pouches or popsicles in four flavors. (Photo courtesy of Seth Aymond); Market Eatz has a full menu of great-looking food in addition to frozen drinks, cocktails, and beer. (Photo courtesy of Market Eatz); Market Eatz management team are ready to serve you. (Photo courtesy of Market Eatz)

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as real as it tastes ENJOY RESPONSIBLY © 2021 Anheuser-Busch, Michelob Ultra™ Organic Seltzer, Spicy Pineapple, Peach Pear, and Cucumber Lime, IRC Beers, St. Louis, MO

Anheuser-Busch: Bud Light

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RockʼnʼBowl de Lafayette

Party with the Pin

905 Jefferson St. | www.rocknbowl.com

Contact Sheylynne Stamm events @ rocknbowl.com 337-347-1689 ROUX

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MUSIC

K

LFY’s Gerald Gruenig seems to be everywhere lately. His Acadiana Eats and music segments on channel 10’s Passe Patout are as popular as ever. His band Gentilly Zydeco has been featured on stages across south Louisiana, and the list of music legends that he has played with is lengthy. But don’t think any of that has gone to his head. He is just as surprised as anyone that he has found his “happy” just two hours away from his childhood home in the Gentilly section of New Orleans. Last month, we sat down for a planned 15-minute conversation that ended up lasting an hour. He calls Acadiana the crossroads of all things that excite and inspire him. And I’m more convinced than ever that Gerald Gruenig is exactly where he’s supposed to be.

THE ROAD TO ACADIANA

Gerald Gruenig Is in Love With Acadiana THE GUY WHO CAME TO ACADIANA AS A WEEKEND SPORTS ANCHOR HAS FOUND BIG SUCCESS JUST BEING HIMSELF By Rob Kirkpatrick

Growing up, Gruenig’s family owned and operated a po-boy shop (then called Po-Boy Bakery) that they lived above. He calls the neighborhood “rough” but says its impact on him was real. His dad worked seven days a week and his mom, a teacher, pitched in too. Next door was a gas station that provided a young Gerald a chance to interact with people from all walks of life. He said, “There were all kinds of people there. Customers at the restaurant and just random people and I always talked to them.” Left to right: Gerald Gruenig outside Kartchner’s in Scott; Gerald Gruenig with the Acadiana Eats Ford Bronco (Photos courtesy of Weatherall Photography)

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MUSIC Hurricane Katrina in 2005 changed the Gruenigs’ lives as a family. The restaurant and their home were severely damaged by flooding after the storm. They were forced to split up the family, and Gerald, who was a freshman at Brother Martin High School, moved north of the lake to Mandeville. He quickly adapted and made friends at Fontainebleau High School. He was a stand-out on the football team and from day one, was a person that people just gravitated toward. [I know this because I was the Fontainebleau High School senior who gave an apprehensive Gerald Gruenig his first tour of the FHS campus back in 2005.] After high school, Gerald moved to Thibodaux to play football for Nicholls State University. He made the most of his time there. It was during this time that he got his first taste of Acadiana. A college friend of his lived in Rayne, so he made the trip through Lafayette often. Little did he know he would one day call Lafayette home. At this point, his goal after college was to continue in sports as a coach. Gerald was competitive and thought a job on the sidelines would be a dream. That didn’t happen right away, but a call from KALB-TV got him to move north on I-49 to Alexandria. It would only be just 10 months before he would accept his second TV job at KLFY. ACADIANA EATS

Gerald arrived in Lafayette in 2014 as a weekend sports anchor for KLFY. Initially, he spent all the time he could back at home in New Orleans. Whether it was covering the Saints, LSU or Ragin’ Cajun football, he always found a way to be with family and help out at the business. The po-boy and plate lunch restaurant had since moved from Gentilly and had a new name: Koz’s of Harahan. Gerald was conscious of the hours of work that it took to keep the doors open and the business afloat. But back at home, he was 48

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getting to know the people and places that made Acadiana great. In 2015, ahead of the fall “sweeps”, Gerald pitched a food feature. He wanted to take viewers into the kitchen and show them how much work and passion it takes. The series got some pushback initially from management. But Gerald knew that putting a spotlight on something so important to the people of this area was a win-win. He said, “I knew if I could tell the stories of these small businesses, we could make an impact.” The four-segment series, which started with a stop at the newly opened Pop’s Poboys in Downtown Lafayette, took off. The limited series became a regular feature. But, to be clear, Gerald never wanted to be a food critic. He said, “There are far more qualified people than me to critique food. I didn’t go to culinary school. I’m not a chef. I’m a food appreciator.” He wanted to show the hard workers and the way restaurant owners handle running the business and turning out world-class food. At the same time, Gerald was able to show a side of himself that had until then been kept off-air. He says, “I saw Acadiana Eats as a way to invest in the people and the place I was falling in love with.” In the years since, Acadiana Eats has become one of the most recognizable features on KLFY. Gruenig’s steady stream of energy and in-your-face delivery is unmistakable and authentic. That’s because he takes the footage shot by videographer John Weatherall and edits it himself. It should be noted that Weatherall has been the man behind the camera since the beginning. Gruenig is humble when talking about the excitement around the ‘Eats’ segments but concedes that he’s just carrying on KLFY traditions that started long before him. He said, “I think about the people that came before me, Maria Placer, Jim Olivier, Floyd Cormier, and more. I’m just doing what they did to connect with people in Acadiana.” It’s a full-circle moment for a guy who grew up watching New Orleans

heritage station WWL and seeing the impact a single on-air feature had on his family’s business. “The best compliment these restaurant owners can give me is that we saved their business. We hear those places are struggling and then one segment drives customers in. These are free segments; they don’t pay for us to come. So that is the best compliment.” INVESTING IN ACADIANA

Gruenig’s newest effort is another nod to the culture of Acadiana and south Louisiana as a whole. The Acadiana Music Spotlight is another passion project that is getting a lot of attention. The local musicians who are featured give insight into their process and inspiration. It also stems from Gruenig’s interest in doing something he had always dreamed of doing — playing an instrument. After tries and fails with drums and bass guitar, he picked up a 10-key accordion. That was his instrument. He hopes it may inspire others to pick up a new hobby or skill. “People have come up and said, man I can’t believe you learned how to play the accordion. I’m like, you can too,” he said. Spending time with him on location

in Lafayette, it was quite common for people to stop in traffic to yell or honk at him. He delivers, smiling and waving back because he’s truly just excited to see them. In all of this, he thanks the management at KLFY who have put Acadiana Eats and Music Spotlight in his hands. They invested in him, and he is focused on the future. Most people in TV news come to the Lafayette market for a couple of years and move on to bigger markets. Seven years in, it seems like Gerald Gruenig is just getting started. He follows his heart and, no, he does not eat all the Acadiana Eats food himself. The bottom line is that the stories he tells are deeply personal to him, and the only way is up for Gerald Gruenig. R

Left to right: Gerald Gruenig on new KLFY set; Gerald Gruenig with Gentilly Zydeco: (L to R): Lee Allen Zeno, Thad Duplechin, Gerald Gruenig, Kevin Menard, & Kent August; Gerald Gruenig with band leaders Rusty Metoyer, Geno Delafose, David, Anthony, & Tiger Dopsie (Photos courtesy of John Weatherall)

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The Rare Gem in the Corner of the Stage

PIANIST JILL BUTLER IS MOVING UP AND OWNING HER MUSIC By Lee Ann Broussard

Jill Butler on tour (Photo courtesy of Anna Merkl)

hile your eyes might not notice Jill Butler tucked away on the edge of the spotlight, once the music starts, your ears will let you know that she is certainly there. Then, you can understand why Jill Butler is such a contribution to the many performing artists who include her in their band lineups. “I am lucky. I have had an opportunity to perform with so many musicians of all different genres,” Butler says. “While performing live, in my head, I’m thinking about how I can infuse a little of me in the song we are playing to add that certain spice.” How Butler can do both and put on an A-plus show is mindboggling. Other musicians have said she has an anointing. While that may be true, Butler has played piano almost her entire life. Her parents were and still are top-notch entertainers. They made sure she developed the chops needed to have a sustainable career in music. She also has a very eclectic group of musicians who have influenced her style or encouraged her to get where she wants to be. This includes an 18-year-old genius from Bali, pianist Joey Alexander. “When I listen to Joey, I know the depths of his talent and am inspired. It’s not always about the melody…it’s about the voicing, your own special spice that you add, intertwined with the melody of the song,” explains Butler. Recently, Butler made the decision to step out on her own and created her own R&B/jazz group called Jill Butler and the Joyride Band. “It’s been a joyful journey to perform on many stages all across the country,” she said. “As I’ve started to travel and tour on my own, I’ve been inspired to write lots of music. But it’s also a very vulnerable position to put yourself out there with your own music and hope that you will be well-received.” Butler now has a body of work to call her own. She has brought together a core of musicians who are not only top-shelf players, but they get Butler’s style and give her room to explore beyond eight bars of music when she feels that need to just stay with a ride that’s filling her head at the moment. Butler says, “I know that I’m growing and evolving because I’m now confident enough to be that vulnerable musician.” Having just returned from a solo East Coast tour, and performing here with Joyride for the first time this summer, Butler is now ready to begin her West Coast adventure. After that? Butler says, “My goal is to go into the recording studio and make my first Joyride album.” While Butler considers it a privilege to perform in front of a live audience, each performance, every musician, each venue, and every audience member has given her the energy and the inspiration to flow through her and into the music she has created. “When I think about those women in Louisiana who started before me like Marcia Ball or Carol Fran, these women have a grit about them which allowed them to blaze through a very dense forest,” Butler said. In addition, Butler is inspired by the work of our local legend Marc Broussard. She says, “He can sing three words and I’m already pulled into the soul of his musicianship. This is what I want to add to my own stock, these spices of soul, tenacity, and joy. I want to find spaces in my music where I’ll surprise you.” R ROUX

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Cow Island LIVE! A WIDE FIELD OF MUSICAL EXPERIENCES BY DWAYNE FATHERREE

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MUSIC

Mike McLeod Dean Band (Courtesy of Cow Island LIVE!)

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MUSIC

B

uck Verret has bounced around the Acadiana music scene for years. He’s played bass with most of the talent coming out of Vermilion Parish, which is a luminary lineup to hang out with. He’s played bass with Mike McLeod Dean’s band since 2004, which gave him the chance to play gigs with most of the bands the two had grown up listening to at one time or another. But he wanted to do something more. So, six years ago he and Dean invited some friends and the acts they had played with on the road over to play some songs in his backyard — his 13-acre backyard. The first year worked so well that he enlisted some help and built a bigger stage for the second year. “We have a big patch of pecan trees in the backyard, so we built a big-ass stage and dragged it out there,” Verret said. “That was year two. Now we’ve had bands from all over, from Detroit to Houston, all over.” For the first time, the 2021 Cow Island Live Festival will expand to two days, starting on Friday night and rolling into Saturday, with space for tents, blackpot cooking and all the music you can handle. But the biggest challenge

for now is the looming threat of a COVID-19 shutdown of live events. “As of now, we are on,” Verret said. “We’ll play it by ear, in case they issue any crazy mandates or restrictions. But we aren’t going to cancel. Likely we’ll postpone if we have to.” The festival faced a similar dilemma in 2020, as the fall surge of the coronavirus was rolling across the state. “We set up handwashing stations with Germ-X all over,” Verret said. “We had masks and gloves at the gate for anyone who wanted them and social distanced as

Get more info at cowislandlivemusicfestival.com

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much as we could.” The beauty of an intimate outdoor festival on 13 acres is that there is plenty of space to socially distance. But the beauty of it for Verret is getting to hear solid, original music played to a crowd that appreciates it, he and embraces the novelty of it all. “I was a little worried about these bands playing original music,” Verret said. “You know, you get people saying, ‘I wanna hear Mustang Sally.’ The best compliment, my favorite, is when someone asks, ‘Where do you find these guys? I’ve never heard that before.’ It tickles me pink. And the artists love it. As long as I can break even and pay bands what I promise them, I’m happy.” R

Cow Island Live 2021

The best compliment, my favorite, is when someone asks, ‘Where do you find these guys? I’ve never heard that before.’ It tickles me pink.

NOV. 12 Gate at 6 p.m. Music at 6:30 p.m. • Ben and Gracie Wall • Eagle Street Band • Dyer County • Richard Revue

— Buck Verret

NOV. 13 Gate at 12 noon Music at 1 p.m. • Alison Lewis • Doop and the Inside Outlaws • DG and the Freetown Sound • Julian Primeaux • Mike Larson and the Ones That Got Away • Derrick Savoie and the Sad Boys • Mike McLeod Dean • The Captain Legendary Band

Tickets: Friday are $15 Saturday is $25 A full weekend pass is $35

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A Story that Will Not Stop

ERICA FOX LEAVES A LEGACY IN ALL THAT SHE PURSUES By Lee Ann Broussard


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rica Fox is and always has been a storyteller. The evidence is in her own songwriting, in her interpretation of a song she might cover with her own phrasing, or in an acting role on film or

on stage. The ability to hold one’s attention while presenting a tale might have begun on Tuesdays when she was a little girl. This was when her very own storyteller, her father, picked her up to hang out at the local record store together, where each week they chose one of the latest records to hit the store. Fox says, “Those moments with my father allowed me to not only dream about one day being a musician, but to understand that to make things happen it takes hard work.” Her own story began right out of high school. She left for Hollywood in pursuit of her dreams. Once in Los Angeles, she worked her way up the ranks. She worked at Capitol Records and was signed as a singer-songwriter to MCA/Universal Records. Later, Master P of No Limit signed her to one of the top record labels for popular rappers at the time. After marriage and having two children, Fox returned to Louisiana with her first stop in New Orleans. “I valued my time on the West Coast, but my heart was in Louisiana,” says Fox. It wasn’t long before her role in the National World War II Museum’s production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” was recognized by the Gambit Weekly when they presented the cast with the 2018 Big Easy Award for “Best Ensemble.” Not one to ever sit on her laurels, she has shown Lafayette a quality of musicianship and professionalism that comes with experience. Since returning home, she has recorded a breadth of material which also happens to pay homage to our region. She recorded “Creole Woman” to honor the great Carol Fran. She recorded “Crying in the Chapel” after Hurricane Laura slammed into our Southeast Coast. Fox recorded a remake of the Lucinda Williams classic, “Lake Charles,” and after a devastating year of COVID-19 and a nation on the brink, she also recorded a full album of her own music called, “This is 2020.” All of this while in the past two years, Fox was a radio talk show host for established and upcoming songwriters at KBON in Eunice, La. She had a starring role in one of the last plays produced before COVID at Cité des Arts called, “American Songbook.” She closed out Downtown Alive with a powerful performance at Acadiana Center for the Arts while on lockdown. One could very well ask, “Is there time for anything else?” Well, that’s the beauty of an artist who makes her dreams count. She also throws

herself into the causes she is passionate about. Fox is a member of the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women, a Commissioner for the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team and a past Commissioner for the Bayou Vermilion District. In addition, Fox is a certified real estate developer and has owned her own property management company for 15 years. The latest endeavor for Fox has been the recent grand opening of her very own gift shop, Attakapas Collective. “I wanted a place that honored our ancestors, that took into consideration our heritage, and that showed off our rich culture,” says Fox. She and her business partner took time to meet with artisans in the Lafayette area, and she wanted to create an inclusive, sacred space for all people to come and sell the wares of their trade. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Fox, told stories about her vision and what each artist brought to the table — always the storyteller, still making a difference with each tale along the way. R

I wanted a place that honored our ancestors, that took into consideration our heritage and that showed off our rich culture. Top to bottom: Erica inside her new gift shop “Attakapas Collective” (Photo courtesy of Scott Clause); Erica Fox performing in New Orleans with national recording artist Johnny Ryan (Photo courtesy of Lee Ann Broussard)

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MUSIC

Another Piece of His ‘Heart’ ‘SONGS FOR THE HEART OF SISTER FLUTE’ IS NEXT STAGE OF JULIAN PRIMEAUX’S VISION By: Dwayne Fatherree

Left to right: Andrew Vo, bass; Julian Primeaux, guitar, vocals; Ethan Mould, sax; Travis LeBlanc, drums, percussion; Brandon Smith, drums, backing vocals (Photo courtesy of Julian Primeaux)

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ost musicians take a while to hit their stride. They experiment and, over time, cast aside ideas and projects as they discover new paths. So, it is rare to see a concept hold a musician on track for almost a decade as they seek to realize their vision. But Julian Primeaux has done just that. He has been working on his “three records in one year” paean to the human heart and its ways since 2013. With his newest release, “Songs for the Heart of Sister Flute,” he is two-thirds of the way to his goal, even if he didn’t meet his original deadline. “This latest record is the second one,” Primeaux said, talking by phone as he burned up the miles between Baton Rouge and Texas between gigs. “I didn’t give up on it. There were a lot of things that I didn’t foresee when I started working on it in 2013.” Although the recording process started then, the songs — and the concept for the trilogy — were already written. “I had the songs before,” Primeaux said. “They were all recorded at the same time. But then I started touring in

Europe. It got really busy touring out there.” Each portion of the trilogy was set to have a different mood. The first part, “This Guilded, Swaying Heart,” encompassed the wild rock and roll spirit that Primeaux displayed best during his years with The Howdies, a four-piece roots rock outfit that blazed across the region’s stage for five years. With the second installment, “Songs for the Heart of Sister Flute,” Primeaux digs deeper into the rich cultural soil of the South, pulling up the gospel roots he remembers from his childhood. “There’s a lot of old gospel stuff in there,” Primeaux said. “I still like all that stuff, too. It’s just like this part of my background that I grew up with. It’s always been there.” Tempering the gospel flourishes, Primeaux also does more exploration of the blues, which he has been immersed in since birth as the son of local bluesman and harp player, A.J. Primeaux. “This is kind of bluesier, more slide guitar, that whole sort of deal,” Primeaux said. “It’s somewhat in the same wheelhouse. It’s got some Americana in it, but with more of a blues angle.” R ROUX

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‘Nobody got no cash’

LOCAL ZYDECO LEGEND, CHUBBY CARRIER, DISCUSSES COVID’S IMPACT ON BRINGING ‘HAPPY MUSIC’ TO THE PEOPLE By Dwayne Fatherree

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hubby Carrier can sum up what it’s like to be a working musician these days in very few words: “No gigs means no money.” Carrier and his band have been a mainstay of the zydeco music scene for more than two decades. But even the big dogs on the scene were humbled in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown that swept the country last year. Before the pandemic, Carrier was in such high demand that he had to pump the brakes every once in a while. “I was turning gigs down,” he said. “I was playing too much.” Then COVID arrived. And everything changed. “I never seen it like this. Never.” Even in Louisiana, where music seems to weather any storm, the pandemic is still having a major impact on events and venues. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras 2020 turned out to be a super-spreader event. This year, the parades were canceled altogether. Likewise, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has been held every spring — rain or shine — since 1970. But this musical mainstay was cancelled in 2020. This year, planners aimed for October but ultimately cancelled again. The event is back on the books for April 2022. “I’ve been playing Jazz Fest for the last 20 years. Even in all the rain and mud, we still played. I really miss it,” said Carrier. “Here in Louisiana, we’ve been hit hard.” Carrier has had to adapt, even re-negotiating the terms of his home mortgage. “I was down to a little bit of the wire at the end of (last) year. I called my finance company. They worked with me, and we made a plan, worked out payments over three or four months to keep my loan going.” Studio recordings are also on hold for now. About this, he is equally succinct: “Nobody got no cash.” “You have to pay to record, then once you put that out, you’ve got to recoup your costs,” he explained. In better days, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band ruled a burgeoning zydeco scene. A decade ago, the band took home a Grammy for its Zydeco Junkie album, which scored the band international exposure. Not that they really needed the exposure. Carrier comes from a long line of musicians. His father, Roy Carrier, his grandfather, Warren Carrier, and his cousins, Bebe and Calvin Carrier, are considered zydeco legends. For decades, Chubby and the Bayou Swamp Band have toured relentlessly around the world, playing venues such as the Chicago Blues Festival, Cajun and Zydeco Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Montreaux Jazz Fest in Switzerland. In 2011, he was selected for inclusion in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. But the largest part of survival, especially in the music industry, is adaptability. So in the wake of a COVID-driven slump, he scaled down the full band. These days, he has adapted to a playing in a three-piece for smaller gigs, with Darryl Fontenot on

keyboard and Dee Fleming on drums. The trio is doing quite a bit of traveling, playing small clubs and restaurant patios up and down I-10, along the old gumbo and chitlins circuit. “I’m running the coast, going into Florida, going into Texas. Doing Lafayette, doing New Orleans. I’m doing a lot compared to last year — it was like zero. Now, I’ve got two or three gigs a week. I’m doing OK,” said Carrier. There are still a few larger gigs in the mix, especially in areas with lower levels of pandemic infections. The end goal, though, is to get the music to the people. And if that means doing it one four-top at a time, then Carrier’s game for it. “I definitely want to go out and entertain my fans – entertain people and make people happy. My music is happy music. That’s what I want to do: go back out and make people happy.” R

I definitely want to go out and entertain my fans – entertain people and make people happy. My music is happy music. That’s what I want to do: go back out and make people happy.

Left to right: Carrier at Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival in Winthrop, WA; Carrier at Downtown Crawfish Jam Music Festival in Hattiesburg, MS (Photos courtesy of Chubby Courier Facebook)

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EXPO SURE FIRST-EVER SELFIE EXPERIENCE OPENS IN DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE ROUX

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aking the perfect selfie isn’t always easy. EXPOSURE, a new social media photo gallery experience in downtown Lafayette, is here to help you achieve that perfect photo. The gallery is part of a growing trend of “selfie experiences” where users can take selfies or professional photos in front of more than 20 photo opportunity spaces and backdrops which are refreshed on a consistent basis. “This opportunity is more than just interactive art — it allows content creators, professionals and individuals to create beautiful photos with their friends and families in a unique space that will be constantly updated so they can return time and again,” said co-founder Sarah Branton. Located at 806 Jefferson Street, the 5,000 square foot gallery is a unique event space suited for personal and business use. Visitors can bring friends and their own cameras to take part in the action. Visits will average between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on group size, and will allow for clothing changes. The photo opportunity spaces will be refreshed every 90 days and will follow trends and holidays. Folks can also customize the experience for their special needs. EXPOSURE is a place full of professional lighting, colorful backgrounds and props galore to make your pictures pop! This EXPOSURE experience provides great fun while preserving memories for years to come. R

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travel


TRAVEL

Blancaneaux Lodge WHERE A POWERFUL LOCATION, LUXURIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS AND PROFOUND ADVENTURE COLLIDE

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By Seth Gilgus

ith film and culture at the core of Francis Ford Coppola’s being, perhaps no one better understands the power of an ideal setting. In the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and impulsively purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. Throughout his renowned filmmaking career, Francis set on a parallel path to build a collection of resorts his family could travel to so they could experience the richness of his favorite filming locales. For more than a decade, Blancaneaux Lodge was used as a family retreat, as was the original purpose behind all of his resort properties. However, in 1993 Francis transformed the tropical paradise into a hideaway for luxury-seekers, adventurers, and those eager to immerse themselves in the natural and cultural beauty of Belize. Acting as the ultimate director, Francis oversaw the property’s exhaustive renovations to ensure the lodge retained its original spirit, while exceeding the expectations of the modern traveler. Francis was involved in everything – from the design of the resort grounds and the installation of sustainable hydroelectric technologies, all the way down to the art and furnishings in each of the guest rooms. Today, Blancaneaux Lodge is one of six luxury properties belonging to The Family Coppola Hideaways portfolio, a collection of unique award-winning 72

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properties located in Belize, Guatemala, Italy and Argentina, where stylish and eco-friendly exploration and discovery meet serenity and delight. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in western Belize’s Cayo District, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury enclave offering guests unparalleled access to Belize’s natural wonders and opportunities to explore the ancient civilization of the Maya. The lodge itself is nestled on the banks of Privassion Creek and is set among tropical pines, oaks, palmetto, craboo, and ancient melastome shrubs. Within a few miles of the property, guests can find limestone hills and valleys spanning the 13,000acre Noj Kaax Meen Elijio Panti National Park. The dense jungle, steep ravines, spectacular waterfalls, and fastflowing rivers afford guests incredible encounters with the region’s diverse flora and fauna, including howler monkeys, ocelots, and vibrant toucans. Guests following in the footsteps of the hotel’s proprietor and cinematic legend should opt for Francis Ford Coppola’s Villa, which offers dramatic, sweeping views from an elevated open-plan living area. The accommodations also include a private plunge pool and hardwood sun deck set in a lush tropical garden. A handcarved antique dining table overlooks the tumbling waterfalls and deep rock pools of Privassion Creek. Coppola’s vision and attention to detail can be found in the slightest nuances, such as hand-painted tiles in the villa’s two bathrooms. Regional antiques, Guatemalan fabrics, artisan masks,


hand-carved figurines and even Francis’ personal art are displayed throughout the space, adding a unique touch to a comfort-inducing environment. Nestled among the dense jungle and the lodge’s beautifully manicured gardens, the 20 guest rooms feature design and artistic elements inspired by the indigenous cultures and the surrounding nature. Each dwelling serves as a retreat, reflecting Francis’s desire for a haven in which one can reflect, create and experience an intimate connection with their surroundings. Blancaneaux Lodge is much more than its idyllic location, curated furnishings, and superb accommodations, however. The property offers an assortment of excursions and experiences you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world – the highlight being the Chiquibul Night Expedition. Guests depart the property before sunset, arriving at the Chiquibul Forest, where they can hike to an amazing birding tower that serves as the perfect setting to watch the sunset and view different species of birds making their way back to their nests. As darkness covers the rainforest, the jungle’s nocturnal animals start to roam their kingdom in search of food. As most of Belize’s large mammals are nocturnal, this is a nature lover’s best chance to see them in their natural habitat. Driving from the pine forest to the rainforest at a slow and quiet pace, the excursion stealthily searches the forest for gibnut, armadillos, peccaries, tapirs and other wildlife. For aspiring cultural connoisseurs, last September, Coppola Family Hideaways

unveiled a new program available at Blancaneaux Lodge and other properties in the portfolio, which offers an enriching global education for school-age children up to 18 years old. Dubbed Coppola Curriculum, the programming encourages hands-on learning with local experts in birding, fishing, scuba diving, Spanish speaking, tortilla making, horseback grooming and riding, organic gardening, sustainability practices, guitar playing, painting, Mayan archeology and more. With each of his hotel properties, especially Blancaneaux Lodge, Francis has made it an enduring mission to offer guests a glimpse of the natural beauty and experiences that have inspired his life’s work. Eager travelers looking for their next adventure and longing for a one-ofa-kind setting should look no further than Blancaneaux Lodge. R ROUX

From left to right: The private plunge pool at Francis Ford Coppola’s Villa; Sun deck at Francis Ford Coppola’s Villa; Comfortable and regionally-inspired furnishings are found throughout Francis Ford Coppola’s Villa (Photos courtesy of Blancaneaux Lodge, a Coppola Family Hideaway)

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Napa Valley’s Hottest Tasting Destination INGLENOOK WINERY’S NEW GRAND SALON TASTING ROOM REOPENS, READY TO IMPRESS By Taylor Geiger

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ophisticated wine lovers, rejoice! A new paradise designed to enhance your tasting of some of Napa Valley’s finest wines has recently opened in Rutherford, California. Not every wine tasting experience is worth traveling for, but this one belongs on your bucket list. Inglenook Vineyards’ chateau was first built in 1887 and later beautifully restored in 1997. Francis Ford Coppola, proprietor of Inglenook, recently undertook a major renovation of the chateau’s Grand Salon in order to welcome visitors to special tasting experiences with warmth and hospitality. “When we entertain at home, this is how we entertain,” said Coppola. “The Grand Salon is an extension of our home, and we welcome guests to enjoy our expansive library, art and jazz collections, and games of chance. We wanted to create a richer experience for guests as they enjoy our Inglenook wines.” Francis Ford Coppola is best known for his role as the director for The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now. In sum, he earned 12 Academy Award nominations, five Academy Awards and two Palme d’Or awards from the Cannes Film Festival. In 1975, he also launched a second career in wine, purchasing the major portion of Inglenook, which was under corporate ownership. By 1995, he had bought the entirety of the original Inglenook property and was responsible for its restoration to its former glory, which was completed in 1997. The recent renovation of the Grand Salon was completed in March 2021. Tastings in the Grand Salon must be reserved in advance, as they take place with a dedicated wine educator and are paired with cheese, charcuterie and more. The estate’s chef Alex Lovick harvests ingredients directly from Inglenook’s own organic garden to create inventive small bites which complement the wines. Many of his creations are seasonally inspired, including delectable homemade stollen (Christmas bread with candied fruit and almond paste), ravioli with fall vegetables or “cotechino con lenticchie” to celebrate the New Year. Serious wine aficionados and foodies may want to consider joining the Inglenook Heritage Society, which ships Inglenook wines directly to your doorstep five times per year, along with seasonal recipes from Chef Alex. When visiting the Inglenook estate’s Grand Salon, eating and drinking are not the only activities on offer. Coppola worked on the redesign together with Dean Tavoularis, who was the production designer on many of Coppola’s films. The two wanted to create a special place with many options for entertainment, reminiscent of a private club in the 1920s. Speakeasy lovers will appreciate the chic design, the plush leather couches, romantic chandelier lighting, and walls lined with books. When you would like a break from eating and drinking, play a tune on the salon’s piano, challenge your friends to a game of chess or backgammon or join in a game of craps. The Grand Salon also features a turntable which plays old jazz albums from the Verve Records Collection. Famous jazz artists such as Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis are among the many

TRAVEL albums which can be played upon request. “The new Grand Salon is gorgeous and such an intriguing retreat,” said estate president Catherine Durand. “It’s the perfect setting for savoring Inglenook wines while enjoying the ambiance created by timeless jazz and the rich surroundings of the historic chateau, enhanced by memorable artwork.” The Grand Salon’s artwork collection consists of pieces by Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Sr., Charles Garabedian, and several other well-known artists. But many would say that the decorations in the Grand Salon are not only on the walls. The main circular bar is framed by a decorative glass-encased wine display which holds more than 400 bottles, crafted by The Bullseye Glass Co. in Portland, Oregon. Bullseye was also responsible for the glass for the art deco-style doors which allow natural sunlight to softly illuminate the room. You can visit the Grand Salon between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday. Seated tastings range from $100 to $150 per person. The Grand Salon also often plays host to special events and parties, such as birthdays, anniversaries and corporate events. Rutherford and its neighboring town of Oakville are known as “small towns with big wines,” with many wine estates producing rich Cabernet Sauvignons. Wine lovers can easily spend an afternoon (or two) lounging at Inglenook’s Grand Salon amidst tourings and tastings of other iconic wineries during their next trip to Napa Valley. R

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Left to right: The Grand Salon, with the impressive glass bar in the background; a sampling of the tastings arranged in the Grand Salon (Photo courtesy of Inglenook Winery, from Casey Shaughnessy)

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TRAVEL

We do all the luxury things that people usually can’t get in one place,” Booher explains. “I’m a romantic at heart, so I started thinking of all the things that I would like if I went for a weekend with my honey. So I put those things in place.

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Louisiana Cajun Mansion CAJUN HOSPITALITY IN A REFINED SETTING

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By Lisa Hanchey

andra Lopez Booher is a gogetter. She went from working for an accounting department at a law firm to the oilfield. From there, she met her lifetime partner, Joseph Marquardt, and the two formed an internet-based company. The business became extremely successful, allowing the couple to buy a 5,600-squarefoot home in Youngsville. Once her son left the nest, Booher thought about selling the house. But then, her parents became ill, and she became their caretaker. After her parents passed away, Booher felt lost. “I was home, and I said, ‘I’m retiring, I’m doing nothing,’” she confides. But that didn’t last long. Two weeks later, Booher’s friend from California called and said, “What are you

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doing selling your home?” Booher replied, “It’s too much.” She shares that, “At that point I just wanted to live in an apartment. I was just there mentally.” But her friend persisted, prodding Booher to convert the spacious home into an Airbnb. MANSION ACCOMPLISHED

When Booher first dabbled in the Airbnb business in 2015, she thought, “Well this is kind of fun.” But she didn’t like the cooking and cleaning part, so she hired someone to handle it. Within a few months, she decided to officially turn her three-bedroom home into a bed-and-breakfast – Louisiana Cajun Mansion. With its Acadiana locale in mind, Booher dubbed the rooms with Cajun names. All feature a queen-size bed, hardwood floors, writing desk, ceiling fan, flat-screen TV with


DVD player, free cable and wireless internet, coffee bar and five-star sundries. The elegant Atchafalaya Suite features a traditional four-poster bed with a fold-out couch for an additional guest. Both the bedroom and private bath are decorated with serene blue-green Venetian plaster walls. The Cajun Bayou Suite houses a queen-size bed and is decorated in calming white, gray and silver with a pillow stating, “Breathe,” instantly creating a relaxing atmosphere. Accommodating up to four patrons, the Lagniappe Room offers a little something extra – heated toilet seats and towel racks. GLAMPING IT UP

Minutes after the mansion’s website went live, customers started booking up rooms. Soon, Booher realized that three bedrooms were not enough. So, the trend-setting entrepreneur added two glamping tents. These tents are definitely not for roughing it – they are climatecontrolled and chandelier-topped. “It was a huge success,” Booher gushes. “Basically, you just show up.” The Alligator Bayou and Holly Beach Glamping tents are perfect for family gatherings or a girls’ getaway. Breakfast is included, so all you need is an ice chest and snacks. Glampers get access to the pool and bathhouse, equipped with a shower and two bathrooms, and a firepit. Packages are available with appetizers and massages for the ultimate glamour-camping experience. “I thought I was doing this for women, but I quickly realized families would come for kids’ birthday parties and, of course, women who just wanted to get away from the kids and husband,” Booher says with a laugh. THE BIG EVENT

In 2018, Booher transformed Louisiana Cajun Mansion into an event venue for business functions, bridal showers, teas and weddings accommodating up to 150 guests. She’s seen it all – including Disney and Viking-themed weddings. With three wedding planners onsite, anything is possible at the mansion. There’s even an all-inclusive bridal package, complete with coaching for the bride and groom, decorations, flowers, cake and food. “A lot of people ask what makes our place so unique,” Booher reveals. “I have a team of people where when we have a wedding, everybody plays their part in making sure that nothing slips through the cracks. The more detail you put into a wedding, the more it becomes over the top. Just having an average wedding is not good enough for me. People walk away saying, ‘This is the nicest wedding I’ve ever come to.’” MAGIC MOMENTS

While Louisiana Cajun Mansion gets its share of travelers, it also attracts locals who just want to get away. Escape to the wine room, where a chef will prepare a romantic dinner, or have a couples massage in the privacy of your room. “We do all the luxury things that people usually can’t get in one place,” Booher explains. “I’m a romantic at heart, so I started thinking of all the things that I would like if I went for a weekend with my honey. So I put those things in place.” Always thinking ahead, Booher plans to add another room and an enclosed backyard area. For more details on what’s going on at Louisiana Cajun Mansion, check out the bed-and-breakfast website at louisianacajunmansion.com or the event venue website at CajunMansion.com. R

Left to right: Bride with flyaway veil and groom (Photo courtesy of Janeen Elaine Photography); High view of chairs in living room (Photo courtesy of Dwayne Coots); Alligator Glamping Tent (Photo courtesy of Sandra Lopez); Tables around the pool (Photo courtesy of Janeen Elaine Photography)

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TRAVEL

Travel via ‘The Private Jet on Wheels’ WHY, YES! SIGN ME UP, CHER! By Helen Balensiefen Bow

S Photos courtesy of Vonlane

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o let me get this straight: You’re taking a bus from Houston to Austin — and this isn’t some winery tour bus or something?” inquired my friend, Lana Stack. A flight attendant for United Airlines, Lana was mostly amused about my mode of travel for this trip because, as her friend, I benefit from free standby tickets through United’s Buddy Pass program. Why, then, would I opt to take a bus as opposed to booking a free ticket for what’s essentially an hour-long flight? I didn’t have a great answer at the time, other than I was curious about Vonlane, a firstclass motor coach and, well, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, y’all. Launched in 2014, Vonlane offers transportation in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with up to 78 daily departures on peak travel days and a total of 446 weekly departures among the cities. ILS SONT PARTIS … AND THEY’RE OFF!

For a girls’ weekend getaway, we booked a one-way ticket from Houston to Austin for $100 and boarded the Vonlane motor coach at the Hyatt Regency downtown. The Vonlane coaches are designed with 22 first-class seats as opposed to a traditional motor coach with 56 seats. There were water bottles waiting for us, and we immediately settled in by extending the leather leg rest and pulled out my blanket. Within minutes, we were cruising to Austin — in contrast to traveling by air, where frequent delays leave you, at the least, sweating and annoyed, or potentially missing a connecting flight and ruining your trip.


“The coach service has been particularly well-received by business travelers, such as attorneys, accountants, lobbyists looking to work in a quiet, comfortable and productive environment,” said Alex Danza, founder and CEO of Vonlane. “Leisure travelers also remark that they love the luxurious, firstclass travel experience at fares below the cost of commercial air travel and with less hassle than driving.” LAGNIAPPE GALORE

As first-time travelers on Vonlane, our experience got better and better. Our server offered us an array of complimentary soft drinks and snacks such as granola bars, popcorn, chips and candy. Before we could even finish our snacks, we were ordering lunch: a complimentary salad, sandwich or wrap. After lunch, I walk to the restroom, and like many people, I can’t properly evaluate a venue until I visit the water closet. Vonlane’s restroom is equivalent to a sizeable half-bathroom and featured a full-length mirror and the coolest faucet and hand drier I have ever seen. Shaped like an airplane, the Dyson

WD04 Airblade “nose” was where the water was dispersed, and the “wings” dried your hands. All housed in the sink! Genius. As I was telling our server how impressed I was with the restroom, I noticed a refrigerator stocked with wine, beer and spirits. There were craft beers, gin, tequila, vodka and whiskey to choose from. I ordered a glass of Sofia Brut Rose for $7. Ok, it was actually a plastic cup — yet I still felt chichi. Fellow Dallas-based Vonlane traveler Lillian Bajor, a 22-year-old law student, said she frequently travels to Houston to visit family or to Austin to attend concerts and events. “My fave thing about Vonlane is how easy it is: You can just get on board, fall asleep and wake up where you need to be,” Bajor said. “It’s better than a flight because it’s reasonably priced, super clean, has no baggage fee, and you don’t have to deal with security lines and the hassle that comes with air travel.” If you don’t feel like napping, passengers have access to complimentary Wi-Fi and more than 350 hours of on-demand digital media. We arrived in Austin in less than three hours — same as if we’d driven and likely the amount of time spent at the airport plus the flight. BIENVENUE EN LOUISIANE

Ok, so now you’re intrigued and admit: You have a bit of FOMO brewing. When is Vonlane going to add routes to Louisiana — and specifically to Lafayette? “While we do not currently have a Lafayette route planned, we always look for passenger suggestions on future routes,” said Danza. “When we consider creating a route, we look initially at a route where the door-to-door time would be similar to flying. Our routes range from two to four hours, typically. We also look at the volume of traffic between the two locations and what alternatives exist for transit currently.” Let’s all put some good juju in the universe for this “private jet on wheels” to add routes throughout Louisiana! R ROUX

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Lafayette Goes to Alaska ACADIANA BROADCASTER DEBBIE RAY RETIRES IN ALASKA AND SHARES TRAVEL TIPS

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By Taylor Geiger

fter a 40-year career in broadcasting in Acadiana, well-known and much-loved 99.9 KTDY morning show co-host Debbie Ray retired from the air in 2018. Soon after, she made a cross-country move to Homer, Alaska. Debbie had been carefully planning this move for several years prior, as she and her husband fell in love with Alaska in 2002, when they traveled to Anchorage so Debbie could participate in an Arthritis Foundation fundraising run. “We explored over 1,100 miles on that trip and fell in love with the Kenai Peninsula, Homer in particular,” she explains. Alaska captivated their interest and Debbie recalls, “We visited nearly every year after that, sometimes twice a year.” Following frequent visits, they decided to buy a place in Homer and lease it until they were ready to retire. With the help of their real estate agent, they bought a lovely house with two floors. After moving, they converted the downstairs into an apartment for guests and now offer this apartment for travelers via Airbnb. “We have been completely sold out during our summer season since opening in 2020,” says Debbie. “For our first summer as Airbnb hosts, we were completely booked (preCOVID-19) with guests coming from around the world. By April, all those reservations were canceled, but people from Alaska started booking. And before we knew it, we were completely sold out again. This summer, we had guests from across the globe.” In Debbie’s opinion, the best time to visit Alaska is definitely summer. “During May and September, rates are cheaper, but all the seasonal places are closed. If you have already visited in summer, come back in winter for the Northern Lights,” she advises. Since Alaska is such a big state, planning for a trip there “all depends on the experience you want to have,” says Debbie. “For example, if you plan to fish, July is magical on the Kenai. The salmon are running, the weather is the warmest of the year. Everything is open, and you can even take a short flight from Homer to watch the grizzly bears

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Top to bottom: Debbie Ray loves the nature views near her new home; Moose grazing in Debbie Ray’s backyard; Long time friends Debbie Ray and Bernadette Lee catching halibut.


“Alaska is a very big state, more than twice the size of Texas, and each region has its wonders,” says Debbie Ray.

feast in preparation for winter. You can hike to a glacier and even kayak or swim in a glacial lake.” For travelers who want to see the Northern Lights, Debbie advises to come in winter for the best experience. “Cross-country skiing, snow-machining, and dog mushing are also wonderful winter outdoor options here. Look up ‘Homer Rope Tow’ for a unique local experience,” she suggests. Additionally, foodies can enjoy many of Alaska’s treats any time of year. She recommends king crab — “We often see the Time Bandit and the Saga from Deadliest Catch in the Homer harbor” — in addition to salmon, halibut, and reindeer sausage, which tastes like regular sausage, according to Debbie. Although Alaska is a long way from home, there are still things which remind Debbie of home and help her maintain ties to her southern roots. “One of the things we loved about Alaska is the connections to Louisiana. I am still amazed by all the Southerners we’ve met who stayed up here after a stint in the military, a job on the North Slope, or in the fishing industry,” she explains. “The people are friendly and independent, much like the folks of Louisiana. But the food isn’t as good. We get great local fish, crab and shrimp, but I can’t find a plate lunch or good fried chicken. And, I have to order my smoked sausage from Best Stop and my Tony’s No-Salt from Amazon,” she says. Additionally, friends from back home are often up for a visit, including another of Lafayette’s beloved long time broadcasters, Bernadette Lee, who recently traveled to Alaska to visit Debbie’s new home and celebrate their birthdays together. Bernadette was impressed by the variety of the natural landscape around Homer. “The flora and the fauna were just so different. I saw elderberries which I had never seen before,” Bernadette recalls. Bernadette enjoyed her visit so much, she says she will definitely be back. She advises visitors to Homer to “Charter a fishing trip of any kind. We went on the Big Butt Halibut tour. I caught two halibut even though I had no prior fishing experience.” Bernadette loved the many activities available within just a 20 mile radius of Debbie’s home in Homer. Debbie has many tips for visiting Alaska. Her only caution about planning a trip there is that Alaska is quite expensive compared to other destinations. “Expect to spend over $300 per person for a shared halibut charter, over $900 to fly to see the bears at Katmai, or over $600 to fly to a glacier and go dog-mushing,” she advises. For those considering a trip to Alaska, Debbie’s enthusiasm for her new home is contagious. “Alaska is huge, gorgeous, and worth the effort it takes to get here.” R Readers dreaming of a trip to Alaska can check out Debbie Ray’s Airbnb listing, the “Sunnyside Hideaway” at: https://www.airbnb.com/ rooms/40156240

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Navigating Troubled Times ADVERSITY TESTED THE FIRST COUPLE OF RAGIN’ CAJUNS ATHLETICS, BUT STILL, THEY PERSEVERED TOGETHER By Jay Walker

Bryan and Kerry Maggard (Photo by Brad Kemp)

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r. Bryan Maggard was named to the position of Athletics Director of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in March 2017. He had spent over 20 years as an associate athletics director at the University of Missouri and helped oversee that school’s transition from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference. And, for the first year and a half at University of Louisiana, he put plans in place, hiring a staff and getting a company to handle the school’s multimedia advertising. He also made his first coaching hire, tabbing Arizona State Offensive Coordinator Billy Napier to take over the football program. So far, so good. But late in 2018, a series of events occurred that had nothing to do with the job description that was in his contract. It began with a health challenge involving his wife, Kerry. “I had just had a mammogram a couple of weeks before,” Kerry said. “But I felt what I thought was a lump in my breast. I called and spoke to the nurse. She suggested I go in for an ultrasound.” After the ultrasound and biopsy, the word came back. Kerry Maggard had breast cancer. “We were hosting the soccer team at our house,” Bryan said. “And Kerry just put a smile on her face and was the perfect hostess, and I know that wasn’t easy for her.” “I got them fed,” Kerry said, “and then I went and walked around the neighborhood pond and cried for a couple of hours.” Cancer wasn’t a foreign word to the Maggards. Bryan had a bout with testicular cancer 20 years prior, when their three children, Dalton, Aubrey and Kaylin were ages seven, five and three. Ironically, in December the Cajuns football team was selected to play in the Cure Bowl, a game tied to breast cancer research, in Orlando, Fla. After a November lumpectomy, Bryan and Kerry went to the bowl game, where Kerry went public about her cancer. “God gave us a story,” Kerry said. “It was a lot to handle at that time. I may have looked strong, but behind closed doors I wasn’t always that way.” After radiation treatments in January, Kerry was pronounced cancer-free. Through it all, Bryan was at her side offering support and encouragement. 86

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“You know when you have to be the strong one,” Bryan said. “When we were home, I just wanted to be with her. I never felt like I had to have that time for myself. I’m a worrier by nature, and I learned from the experience.” Two months later, a series of events rocked the Cajuns’ athletic department, and it was Bryan’s turn to face adversity. And it was Kerry’s turn to offer support. It began with an early morning phone call in January 2019. “I had gotten a workout in and was getting out of the shower. Kerry walked in and said (softball coach) Gerry (Glasco) was on the phone. Now early morning conversations between us weren’t unusual. We are both very early risers.” But it was a phone call like none other. Gerry broke the news that his daughter, Geri Ann, who had just joined her father’s staff as a volunteer assistant, had been killed in an automobile accident on Interstate 10. “I figuratively dropped to my knees,” Bryan said. “There was brief shock, then I just had to go into leader mode. The toughest part for me was having to relive the breaking news. I had to call (UL President) Dr. (Joe) Savoie. I had to meet with the staff and student-athletes. And, I had a visit with Vickie (Gerry’s wife). It was a brutal day.” And, as parents, Bryan and Kerry had to put themselves in the shoes of their friends. “Geri-Ann was the same age as Dalton,” Kerry remarked. Exhausted, Bryan continued to do everything he could. “You work off adrenaline,” he said. In March 2019, the long-time equipment manager, Lynn Williams, passed as well.

“Lynn and I had a kindred spirit because as a student (at Kansas State), I worked in the equipment room,” Bryan said. “Lynn was a kind soul. He felt everyone had value as a person and treated them accordingly. He loved everyone.” Then on July 3, the Cajuns’ beloved baseball coach Tony Robichaux passed away after suffering a heart attack the week before. That one hit Bryan the hardest. “I knew him so well. Justin (Tony’s son, recently hired by Gerry Glasco as an assistant coach) was my contact and kept me informed. We crafted a message when the decision was made to transfer Tony to Ochsner in New Orleans. But when he passed away, I again had to compartmentalize, had to coordinate meetings, had to relive it more than once. I had to be the administrator. Then I had to go out and find a baseball coach.”


Bryan said there were times he didn’t know if he’d get through it. But Kerry’s response of encouragement was simple. And direct. “Yes, you can. And yes, you will.” Matt Deggs, who spent more than two years as Tony’s assistant before becoming head coach at Sam Houston State, was Bryan’s choice. But the nights leading to that decision were tough on both of the Maggards. “Everything I go through, she goes through,” Bryan said. “And vice versa,” added Kerry. On July 17, in an emotional press conference, Bryan got up to introduce Coach Deggs. He started thanking those who had helped in the journey. When he got to Kerry, the façade crumbled. He paused to compose himself. The words came, haltingly. “I owe you some quality time,” he said. They left the next day for North

Carolina and did just that. Since then, the athletic department managed to navigate the loss of assistant football coach, D.J. Looney, who died on the football field at age 31 of a heart attack. The COVID-19 pandemic was a huge challenge. The football team finished the 2020 season ranked 15th in the country. And, again, Kerry has been right by Bryan’s side. “Her heart is as pure as anyone I’ve ever known,” Bryan said. “She’s loving. She’s caring. She’s all about family. You know she’s always going to be there.” “He’s my rock. He’s our family’s rock,” Kerry said. “If one of us needs something, he’s there. If he’s in a meeting, he’ll step out and call if we need him. He works hard, but it’s family first.” After 30 years of marriage, the Maggards know when adversity comes, they’ll face it. Together. R

There were times I didn’t know if I’d get through it. And she said ‘yes, you can…and yes, you will.’ Bryan and Kerry with son Dalton and daughter Aubrey at the Cure Bowl in December 2018 (Photo by Brad Kemp)

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The Big Catch


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From top left: 1 Angie O’Bryan | Bull Red | Grand Isle; 2 Beau Thomas | Speckled trout | Vermilion Bay, Tiger Shoals; 3 Becky Williams | Redfish | Bayou Dularge; 4 Brandon Romero | Oil Fish | Grand Isle La; 5 Cecile Walters Trotter | Striped Marlin | Cabo San Lucas; 6 Daniel Hebert and L Harpoon Billy | Swordfish | Florida Keys; 7 Candace and Chris Mahoney | Specs | Hackberry; 8 Chad and Braxton Voisin | Amberjack | Cypremort Point; 9 Eric Adcock | Red Fish | Marsh Island

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38 to 45 feet 30 plus years in Marine Industry 337-278-9655

Crew Boat Rentals

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From top left: 10 Steven and Patrick O’Bryan | Wahoo and Ling | Grand Isle; 11 Stephen Stefanski Jr. and Stephen Stefanski III | Red snapper | Pecan Island; 12 Pops O’Bryan | Mangrove Snapper | Grand Isle; 13 Owen and Wyatt Jennings | Reds | Port Fourchon; 14 Kermit Miller | Bass | Lake Lapin,Tate Cove, LA; 15 Johnny Nugier | Snapper | Louisiana; 16 Jill Schendel | Amberjack | Gulf of Mexico

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The Fright Trail

WORLD-CLASS HORROR RIGHT HERE IN ACADIANA

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By Matthew Miller

n Louisiana, the chill of autumn only means that temperatures drop from 100 degrees to 90 degrees, so we need something else to mark the beginning of the season. How about monsters, ghouls, and horror? After all, fall is the season of Halloween, and who doesn’t like a good scare? Acadiana is fortunate to be the home of one of the world’s top experts in haunting attractions (called “haunts” in the industry), Rich Hanf. He and his wife, Deborah LeBlanc, a published horror writer, own the Fright Trail. The Fright Trail is an outdoor haunted attraction on 20 acres of land in the town of Scott, right outside of Lafayette. Filled with frights and fun, the sheer size of the attraction would be impressive enough, but it offers so much more than that. The haunted trail will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this Halloween season, and over the years, it has gained a

worldwide following. As one of the world’s most watched haunts on social media, the Fright Trail boasts over 5,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel and 100 million views on UNILAD, a British media company’s website. It has been featured on MTV in Europe and Asia and is famous among those who love horror and haunts. The trail itself is a multi-faceted world of terror, composed of several different featured areas. This year includes an all-new attraction ominously called “the Morgue,” and if the trail’s website photos are any clue, you can expect to be scared by zombies, werewolves, vampires, killer clowns, monsters and more. According to Huntor Dake, one of the haunt’s actors who plays Pennywise the Clown (yikes!), the entire attraction takes about 35 to 45 minutes to walk through, but he added that it is much shorter if you run. Whether guests find themselves walking or running in horror, Hanf likes to emphasize that ROUX

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the Fright Trail is the “most fun haunted attraction.” Given the shutdowns and problems of the last year, he views himself, his wife, and the actors as “fun counselors,” helping guests to forget about the day-to-day problems that may weigh on their minds, at least for a night. He takes both horror and fun very seriously. Because of COVID-19, Hanf’s industry has suffered supply chain issues, with a shortage of Halloween props available for purchase or fulfillment. But because of Hanf’s standing and fame in the horror community, he has been able to procure plenty of new props, including cutting-edge animatronics. Expect the trail to be filled with professional-level scares to rival any haunt in the world. Hanf emphasizes just how seriously he takes security at the Fright Trail. First, the production owns two TSA-level metal detectors and scanners to make sure that no one takes anything dangerous into the haunt. Next, six Scott policemen patrol the haunt each night that it is open, and there is also a lighted area where a policeman on a podium can oversee the area. All of the staff are required to take a safety training course led by the Scott police, and both the city of Scott and the state of Louisiana inspect the attraction for safety. This includes regular inspection by the fire marshal. In 10 years of operation, there has never been a single serious accident of any kind. And if you are worried that you might have a panic attack or that you or your child might become too scared past the point of fun, the actors are trained on how to break character and escort guests safely out. The actors themselves are all volunteers and consist of people who are passionate about horror and haunts. Hanf takes their training very seriously so that, in his words, “every scare is the

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first scare of the night.” Some of the actors have been with the attraction for several years. Hanf and LeBlanc’s love story began years ago when her publicist called him regarding a possible collaboration to promote one of her books, given Hanf’s fame in the horror industry. He was not crazy about the initial conversation, so he decided to call Deborah directly. They met in person at a haunt in Houston and immediately hit it off. Both lifelong horror enthusiasts, they decided to get married. Hanf, originally from New Jersey, became the adopted son of Louisiana, and he loves it. He is impressed with how helpful people in Acadiana are, and he feels a strong bond with the city of Scott and its police force. Fright Trail also makes a point to give back to the community it calls home. Mrs. LeBlanc is the founder of Literacy, Inc., a nonprofit organization. Concerned about students not reading enough, she travels the country and talks to students to encourage them to read more. Hanf, LeBlanc, and the Fright Trail also sponsor local sports teams, contribute to scholarships for local students, and engage in other forms of giving. The Fright Trail truly is a world-class, professional, topquality operation. It will be open for the 2021 Halloween season on Friday and Saturday nights from October 1 through October 31, Halloween night, which falls on a Sunday. Guests usually start arriving at the box office around 6:00-6:30 p.m., and the Scott police direct traffic so you can find safe and easy parking. Located at 5305 Cameron Road in Scott, you can find more information on their website, frighttrail.com. Check out the Fright Trail this season for a scary and fun experience! R ROUX

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ART

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Tony Bernard

Louisiana Artist Tony Bernard has a passion for Cajun culture, and that passion is evident in each of his works of art. Bernard has a vibrant color palette and unique style, evoking feelings of happiness and Cajun pride. He is internationally known for his many award-winning festival posters, postage stamps, portraits, billboards and more. While in the Lafayette area, stop by Bernard Studio and Gallery to see his work. R From top left: 1 Allons en Louisianane- 24”x12” signed print; 2 Rooted in Louisiana- 21” x 27” Giclee Print- edition of 100; 3 Sweet Home Louisiana- 36” x 36” acrylic original; 4 Big Al’s Corn and Crab Bisque -14” x 10” print

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PROUD TO SERVE, THOSE WHO SERVE.

© 2017 Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser® Beer, St. Louis, MO


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