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Best Chefs Five Chefs Making Their Mark in Acadiana pg. 36 Chef Amanda Cusey puts a Louisiana spin on Italian cuisine

Tops of A ca d i a n a

Your favorite restaurants, live music venues, boutiques and more! pg. 48

Fa l l T r av e l

Discover What’s New in New Orleans pg. 56

Getting Down to Business

Acadiana is a hotbed for startups pg. 62


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features Célébrer le mode de vie acadien

36 best chefs By cheré coen Photographs by romero and romero

48 2017 tops of acadiana By will kalec and fritz esker Select Photographs by denny culbert

56 a guide to new new orleans By amy gabriel

62 acadiana-born businesses By megan romer

Winner of favorite steakhouse, Café Josephine’s steak, more on page 49


contents october/november 2017 | volume 36, number 5

10 lagniappe

A little Extra 12 note de l’editeur

Editor’s Note

food+drink 27 sur le menu

News Briefs

Seasonal Shift: Welcoming autumn with soothing soups, stews, gumbos and oysters at their peak

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30

14 nouvelles de villes

le visiter

Calendar of Events

de la cuisine

Mollusk Memories: Oysters three ways to share and savor 34 recettes de cocktails

home+style

Whip It Good: Enjoy a sweet, smooth, syrup-laced cocktail with holiday spices on the water’s edge

17 la maison

A Tale of Two Farms: An architectural restoration in Opelousas harkens back to region’s early settlers 22 pour la maison

All Wrapped Up: We’ve got you covered with soft, chic throw blankets 24 À la mode

Give ‘em the Boot: Tall, short, flat or heeled, boots are your must-have fall staple

culture 75 les artistes

The House That Cajun Homes Built: Ted Bertrand’s downtown Sunset gallery makes space for his paintings and the work of other local artists 80 la musique

On the Cover Chef Amanda Cusey is one of our five picks for the 2017 installment of Best Chefs. Acadiana is of course rich with both homegrown and transplanted kitchen masters who are flush with talent and find endless forms of inspiration to fuel their innovation. Cusey helms the back of the house at The Villa in Lake Charles. Originally from Arizona, Cusey moved to Lake Charles with family after a stint in Ireland. Read her story on page 38.

Legacy Lost: Musician Sean Ardoin remembers vibrant Miller’s Zydeco Hall of Fame in Opelousas 84 les personnes

Catch Her If You Can: The need for speed sprouted in Lafayette race car driver Sarah Montgomery at an early age 88 en français, s’il vous plaît

Les Ailes Au-Dessus de l’Acadiana


lagniappe

Learn French Fricot

Now that we are moving from summer sun to fall temperatures, what is your favorite comfort food restaurant and what do you order?

(n.) hash, ragout. example: Je suis dans la cuisine avec ma grand-mère après faire une grosse chaudière de fricot. translation:

Editor in Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Melanie Warner Spencer “Bon Temps Associate Editor Ashley McLellan Grill’s ‘Short Rib over Copy Editor Liz Clearman Fricassee’ jalapeño cheese Art Director Sarah George grits has “The duck leg the Lead Photographer Danley Romero perfect savory confit at The Web Kelly Editor Massicot flavor for day or Saint Street Inn night dining.” in Lafayette has warm, autumnal Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan flavors and is (504) 830-7215 the perfect Colleen@acadianaprofile.com sized portion. Sales Manager Rebecca Taylor I could eat it every day.” (337) 298-4424 (337) 235-7919 Ext. 230 Rebecca@acadianaprofile.com Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Whitney Weathers digital media associate Mallary Matherne

I’m in the kitchen with my grandmother making a big pot of fricot.

Did You Know? Fricot is a traditional French Acadian comfort food, handed down by the Cajuns of Nova Scotia. Fricot is traditionally made with whatever leftover vegetables, meat or seafood were available, and potatoes, instead of a roux, as a thickener in a long, slow simmering pot. The word “fricot” can be translated to mean “grub” in English, but an even older translation is “feast.” — Ashley McClellan

For event information call (504) 830-7264

Production manager Jessica DeBold Production Designers Monique DiPietro Demi Schaffer Molly Tullier Traffic Coordinator Topher Balfer Distribution Manager John Holzer office manager Mallary Matherne Subscription Manager Brittani Bryant For subscriptions call (504) 830-7231

Chief Executive Officer President Executive Vice President

Todd Matherne Alan Campell Errol Laborde

“There are so many great restaurants, it’s impossible to pick just one! But, anywhere I go, gumbo is my ‘must have’ comfort dish. Nothing says fall like football and a heaping bowl of smoked chicken (or duck) and sausage gumbo with a rich, dark roux. It’s like cashmere for your palate!”

2016 AWARDS Award of Merit to Melanie Warner Spencer for Single Story Award of Merit to Danley Romero for Single photo Bronze to Will Kalec for Magazine Writer of the Year Bronze to Danley Romero for Portrait Series Silver to Denny Culbert for Photo Series Gold to Denny Culbert for Magazine Photographer of the Year Gold to Sarah George for Art Direction of a Single Story Gold to Sarah George for Overall Art Direction Finalist for Magazine of the Year

Renaissance Publishing LLC • 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 • (877) 221-3512 128 Demanade, Suite 104 • Lafayette, LA 70503 • (337) 235-7919 ext. 230 Acadiana Profile (ISSN 0001-4397) is published bimonthly by Renaissance Publishing LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 and 128 Demanade, Suite 104, Lafayette, LA 70503 (337) 235-7919 ext. 230. Subscription rate: One year $10; Foreign Subscriptions vary. Periodicals postage paid at Lafayette, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Acadiana Profile, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2017 Renaissance Publishing LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Acadiana Profile is registered. Acadiana Profile is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Acadiana Profile are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

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acadiana profile october/november 2017

Behind The Scenes

Contributor Cheré Coen is pictured here interviewing one of Acadiana Profile’s 2017 Best Chefs, Chef Amanda Cusey of The Villa in Lake Charles. Coen says they are discussing Cusey’s move to Lake Charles from Ireland. Cusey told Coen Ireland gave her a month of time off, so she traveled all over Europe and had fabulous experiences there, but her parents wanted her home. They wanted to retire someplace warm and her father got a job in Lake Charles. Cusey says Louisiana took some getting used to, but she has been here a year and loves it.

Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/acadianaprofile) and follow us on Twitter (@acadianaprofile) for daily updates, happenings in the area and other news! Please consider our planet and recycle this (and every) magazine.


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note de l’editeur

sales team

As I’m writing this on a 75-degree day at the beginning of September,

I have a strong urge to unearth boots and scarves stowed away since last year. Fighting this urge however is essential, because we all know there are plenty of hot days to come before the summer heat truly drops off and we stroll in all of our booted and scarved glory into fall. If we are lucky we stroll — donning our autumnal best — into fabulous restaurants, quaint coffee shops, stylish boutiques and the other Acadiana businesses we hold up as our tried-and-true favorites. We know you have favorites, because you’ve shared them with us by voting in the annual Tops of Acadiana feature. On page 48, we’ve tallied your votes and are sharing the results, so don’t miss this year’s crop of Tops. Be sure to celebrate the winners with us at the Tops of Acadiana party on Oct. 17 at The Madison in Broussard. The October/November issue is always fun, not only because of the Tops feature, but also because it’s when we reveal the region’s best chefs. After much deliberation, the editorial staff narrows it down to a select group of five individuals at the top of their game. In an area known for its food, this is no small feat. We think you’ll agree that this lineup is one talented bunch of folks. If you haven’t already tried their restaurants, now is your chance. There is truly something for everyone. This entire issue is one that I always keep handy, because it’s a veritable guide to the best in Acadiana’s dining, entertainment and more. This is, of course, in no way a comprehensive list when it comes to this place we all love. There are enough bests and tops in Cajun Country to fill volumes, but we do hope that this year’s lists will offer a nice appetizer to get you through the buffet line of fun and food that is Acadiana.

Melanie Warner Spencer, Managing Editor (504) 830-7239 | Melanie@AcadianaProfile.com

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Rebecca Taylor Sales Manager (337) 298-4424 (337) 235-7919 Ext. 230 Rebecca@AcadianaProfile.com

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 Colleen@AcadianaProfile.com


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nouvelles de villes

by lisa leblanc-berry

Osso Bucco from Midway on the Square Acadiana

Investors Looking for Ideas Innov8 Acadiana has opened applications for a new business commercialization accelerator program, Accelerate Acadiana, and is seeking applicants from companies of all sizes looking to expand. Aspiring business owners will meet over 200 investors motivated to partner with founders, short and long term. There’s office space and ongoing business training at the Opportunity Machine, one of Louisiana’s most successful incubators (read more about it on page 62), and industry connections to executives of mega companies and events like social mixers, where angel investors meet people with ideas (innov8acadiana.org).

Abbeville

New Iberia

New Restaurant, Piano Bar, Dancing and Big Eggs

Smell that Roux

Dark for 12 years, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Abbeville was recently renovated and has reopened as Midway on the Square (midwayitaliansteaks.com) featuring upscale Italian fare (recommended: crawfish cannelloni, grilled duck breast with portabella demi-cream). Gabe Broussard, the owner’s blues-singing teenage son, had Miley Cyrus and Blake Shelton fighting over him to be his coach last year on NBC’s “The Voice” (he chose Blake) and he appears occasionally to perform at Midway, which overlooks picturesque Magdalen Square (the setting for OctoberDecember holiday events). A first for Abbeville is Kevin’s Piano Bar (kevinsbar. com), which opened with a grand piano, outdoor tables, an antique mahogany bar and is located near the A. Hays Town courthouse featuring live bands weekends and bar bites like muffulettas and coconut cake. Oct. 12-15 brings the Cattle Festival’s Fais-Do-Do and a street fair right in front of the historic courthouse, a trail ride and barn dance, a children’s parade and local bands (cattlefestival. org). Top chefs from Canada, France, New Caledonia, Belgium, Argentina, Belgium and Louisiana meet in Abbeville and lead a big Sunday procession through town, and end up at a 12-foot cast iron pan where they’ll crack 5,033 eggs, melt 52 pounds of butter and cook a giant crawfish omelette and a smaller children’s omelette (free to the public with Poupart’s French bread) with a Cajun band and dancing to celebrate Abbeville’s French heritage during the international Giant Omelette Celebration Nov.4-5 that includes a tour of homes, antiques, art and foods show, Kids World and the Tabasco Girl’s dance team (giantomelette.org).

Houma

Camping, Jamming, Flying Head to the Ponderosa in the wetlands of Terrebonne parish (5403 West Park, Houma) for the Voice of the Wetlands

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Festival Oct. 13-15. Stay and camp with a tent or RV to enjoy the late-night jam sessions after the main stage closes (campers need to sign up). Music kicks off Friday night with Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter and Brian Stoltz, followed by Tab Benoit and more for the Guitar

acadiana profile october/november 2017

In the cool autumn air, you can smell the tantalizing aroma of dark roux simmering with the trinity in giant cast iron pots as you enter downtown New Iberia and head to Main Street for the World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off Oct. 14-15 featuring 100 teams competing (professional and amateur, each cook must make a minimum of 60 quarts for visitors to sample) and a youth cook-off (facebook. com/gumbocookoff).

Fights jam session until the wee hours. Children can enjoy the small animal zoo in the kid’s area (voiceofthewetlands.org). Popular with festivalgoers is flying over the bayous and swamps with Hammonds Air Service (tip: they tell great stories; 985-876-0584).

Lake Charles

From Russia with Love The Moscow Ballet celebrates 25 years performing the Great Russian Nutcracker and they arrive Nov. 10 for a performance at the Lake Charles Civic Center, featuring larger than life puppets, dolls and gorgeous costumes. (tickets: 800-745-3000)

Cool Music Link Newly compiled by British researcher Nick Leigh, there’s a downloadable discography of Cajun recordings made between 1946-1989 (bluesandrhythm. co.uk/Cajun-records).


calendar

around acadiana Bon temps in and around Cajun Country by kelly massicot

October 6-8. Tour du Teche 135. Breaux Bridge. tourduteche.com 6-8. Lake Charles Film & Music Festival. Lake Charles. lakecharlesfilmfestival.com 7-8. Germanfest. Roberts Cove. robertscovegermanfest.com 10-15. Louisiana Cotton Festival. Ville Platte. louisianacottonfestival.com 12-15. Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. Lafayette. festivalsacadiens.com 14-15. Gumbo Cook-Off. New Iberia. iberiachamber. org/gumbo-cookoff 18. St. Martin Creole Farmers Market Chariot Parade. St. Martinville. stmartinville.org 19-22. International Rice Festival. Crowley. ricefestival.com 21. Boudin Cook-Off. Lafayette. boudincookoff.com 21. Shake Your Trail Feather Festival. Breaux Bridge. howldogfarms@gmail.com 21. Chuck Fest. Lake Charles. chuckfest.org 21. Culture Fest Louisiana. Lake Charles. culturefestlouisiana.com 28. Sweet Dough Pie Festival. Grand Coteau. sweetdoughgc.com 28. Harvest Moon Festival. Franklin. franklin-la. com/recreation-festivals.php 28. Boudin Wars 2017. Sulphur.

November 1. Museum in Motion. UL Dance Department Showcase. Lafayette. hilliardmuseum.org 2-4. Festival of Words. Grand Cotea. festivalofwords.org 3-5. Holy Ghost Creole Festival Bazaar. Opelousas. holyghostcreolefestival.com 4-5. Steampunk and Makers Fair. Lafayette. steampunk-festival.org 4-5. Giant Omelette Celebration. Abbeville. giantomelette.org 9-12. Port Barre Cracklin Festival. Port Barre. cracklinfestival.com 10. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Lake Charles. nutcracker.com 11. Poetry Workshop with Jack Bedell. Lafayette. hilliardmuseum.org 11-12. Flea Fest. Lake Charles. fleafest.com 16-19. Southern Screen Film Festival. Lafayette. southernscreen.org 22. Camellia Crossing. Acadiana’s Gleaux Run. Lafayette. milesperret.org 25. Everybody’s Birthday Zydeco Celebration. Grand Coteau. facebook.com/saveourcommunitycenter 25. Grand Noel. Grand Coteau. grandcoteau.org 26. Sounds of the Season with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. New Iberia. iberiacultural.com acadianaprofile.com

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home+Style Inspiration, dĂŠcoration et accessoires chic pour la vie

la maison

a tale of two farms An architectural restoration in Opelousas harkens back to region’s early settlers By Lisa LeBlanc-Berry | Photos by chad chenier


home+style

previous page Daughter Bethany’s bedroom is one of the two original 1847 rooms in the house. left A bar back custom hutch from Chanda’s father’s pub in Sunset is on display in the 50-foot-long hallway. The dining room was in a detached building from the 1870s, and was connected to the home in 1910. Its circa-1840s stainedglass church windows create vibrant light patterns on the early 20th-century-dining room table made from parts of a bed and scrap lumber.

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la maison

Descendants of the early French settlers of Opelousas, Clyde and Chanda LaVergne decided to become stewards of their family’s circa-1847 French Creole farmhouse in 2004. One year later, it was beautifully restored to reflect the original style. It is the only structure remaining from this time period in Opelousas. Chanda’s great-great-great grandfather, Theodore Bourque, built the original cypress dwelling with a sturdy, hipped roof and 18-inch corner boards to withstand hurricanes. A native of France, Bourque moved to the Acadian frontier during the antebellum era, when small farms dotted the landscape, horse-drawn carriages were seen about town and before the Civil War and first railroad began modernizing this predominately French Catholic culture. Two years prior to Bourque’s arrival in the territory of Opelousas, Clyde’s great-great-great grandfather, Eugene LaVergne, built a similar French Creole farmhouse nearby. Like many other homes that perished in the parish due to hurricanes, war or the Great Depression, Eugene’s house burned to the ground in 1901. A new home emerged after his neighbors threw a customary house-raising followed by a feast. The Bourques raised livestock and frequently shared their bounty with friends.

acadiana profile october/november 2017

Every Saturday, the Bourques hosted a ritual boucherie, resulting in copious amounts of pork or beef. On Sunday, the two families would alternate hosting the weekly dance on their front porch, followed by competing in two-wheel sulky horse races, a tradition that continued into the 1940s. Common sensibilities prevailed as the descendants adapted to the New World. Born in New Orleans in 1743, Eugene’s father, Louis, was


the first in his family to brave the frontier by moving to Opelousas from the Crescent City. His grandfather, Count delaVergne, migrated to New Orleans from France while his family remained at the delaVergne chateau in southwest France. “Two direct descendants from these properties married and moved into the only house in the area that survived,” says architect Ken delaVergne, who retained the original French spelling of the family name. “This

house is not only a great example of one that survived, but one that survived and evolved.” Clyde’s brother, Ken lovingly restored the 3,000 square-foot house and brought it up to 5,400 squarefeet with the addition of a master suite. A devoted history buff known for meticulously restoring some of the most significant historic landmarks in Acadiana, Ken retained the initial architectural elements in the house that had remained untouched, while making

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major modifications. He was assisted by Paige LaVergne of La Vie Designs. “You can actually see the evolution of the house,” says Ken. “Anything that survived, even plantations, had to evolve. We took it back to the 1870s because it had multiple styles. We redid the columns that were altered in 1910, and put square columns to match the wide corner boards from the original style of the house in the 1870s. Some of the 1870s interior doors were retained, as well as an original 1840s pantry with an asymmetrical window. Ken also reconstructed the original 1870s turned columns on the two rear porches. In the study, he added a 22-foot-long floor-toleft Ken added ceiling bookcase and kept one rustic windows and wall that was original to the house, removed walls completely intact and unpainted. to open up the kitchen with Eight large stained-glass 1870s flooring windows were purchased from a and a mid-1800s circa 1840s Grand Couteau church. island. top right They were installed in the dining He designed the converted attic room, along with a round stained master bath glass window that parishioners with 11-foot-wide called the “Eye of God.” Ken dormers. bottom gave it a home in the archway of a right Original wide-plank walls generous foyer. from the 1870s. “Chanda feels a real connection to this house, because of the fond memories of spending time with her grandmother here,” Ken says. “We’ve heard so many stories from our parents and grandparents about the horse and buggy days.” He fondly remembers zany races in diminutive, wobbly, one-rider buggies. “My grandfather had a race track on our property and there was another one on the Bourque property After the Sunday races, they had big picnics with huge pork sandwiches, homemade cakes and cookies. They became the closest of neighbors and shared just about everything.” Religious traditions were also shared and observed, including no-meat Fridays. “We had egg and potato stew. That’s if you didn’t catch any seafood and you were a Catholic,” Ken says. “On Saturday, it was always the best fresh meat because of the boucherie, but anything beyond Monday was salted meat put down in the well. That’s if you didn’t manage to kill any ducks during the week.” The LaVergnes are continuing the tradition of hosting family gathering at their 18-foot-long dining table that has been passed down from generation to generation. Paying it forward with an eye on the next 170 years, they have evolved as keepers of the flame.

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home+style

pour la maison

all wrapped up We’ve got you covered with soft, chic throw blankets by ashely hinson | photo by romero & Romero

Break up the deep and dark tones of the season with this stunning throw from Paul Michael. Made with the softest acrylic, its modern ikat print has tawny brown, soft gray and warm winter white. A light, yet lush style.

This gorgeous eggshell blanket by A&B home is sure to brighten up your mood and living room. Like the softest sweater, it comes in an acrylic cable knit. Paul Michael

Bassett Home Furnishings 501 Acadiana Mall Circle, Lafayette 337-735-1000. bassettfurniture.com Paul Michael 1800 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette 337-981-1289. paulmichaelcompany.com The Royal Standard 2015 Johnston St., Lafayette 337-289-1144. theroyalstandard.com

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acadiana profile october/november 2017

Fiery tones of rust and brick interweave in this wool blanket from Bassett Home Furnishings. As warm as your favorite coat, this piece’s colors come together to form what is sure to be an autumnal staple.

This throw from Amity Home is an understated, muted cocoa. The 100 percent cotton fibers provide breathability, and its straight line stitch gives it just the right amount of classic details. Bassett Home Furnishings

Sometimes, something simple is all you need. This cool, ash gray blanket from The Royal Standard has a slightly fuzzy texture that will keep you warm, and its thin design ensures easy storage in warmer temperatures.

What says home better than a chunky knit throw? This sprawling blanket’s thick cotton is supple and urbane. A household staple gets the update it deserves in an elegant wash of slate gray. Bassett Home Furnishings


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home+style

À la mode

give ‘em the boot Tall, short, flat or heeled, boots are your must-have fall staple by ashley hinson | photo by romero & Romero

Don’t be afraid of heights. Overthe-knee styles are more versatile than ever, and you can’t go wrong with the sumptuous brown leather in this pair of Frye boots. Wear them out of the store, and you won’t want to take them off all fall. Shoe La La

Pairing a refined design with an unexpected neutral exudes effortlessness. These khaki ankle boots from Dolce Vita come in a pliable suede that pairs well with the cozier textures of fall. Perfectly styled with jeans or tights. Hemline

Trendy colors are as ephemeral as their seasons, but black is abiding. These Vince. thigh-highs come in perfect black leather that forms in an unyieldingly confident and sexy shape. The high heel will add a sleek finish to your fall wardrobe. Kiki

An adorable update on the light-colored ankle boots of the ‘60s, these Dee Keller booties come in the softest light gray suede. A delicate string goes through a single golden eye and wraps at the ankle, finishing a darling design with a bow. Amor

Olive is everywhere. Extend the shade from army-inspired jackets to these ankle boots from Vince. Luxurious suede envelops a classic laceup style that’s punctuated by a very ‘70s midi heel. Kiki

A warm, cinereous gray is hard to find. Look no further than these H.S. Trask boots from Hemline, which pairs a classic shape with utilitarian details. The thick heel features a rubber traction outsole, and prominent buckles top off the sturdy style. Shoe La La Shoe La La, 1921 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, 337-984-8618. shoelala.net Hemline, 1910 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, 337-406-1119. hemlinelafayette.com Kiki, 1910 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, 337-406-0904. shopkikionline.com Amor, 500 Settlers Trace Blvd., Lafayette, 337-456-1932. amorlafayette.com

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food+drink Ça c’est bon

Creamy Oyster Stew from Shucks!

sur le menu

seasonal shift Welcoming autumn with soothing soups, stews, gumbos and oysters at their peak by Jyl Benson | Photos by denny culbert


food+drink

sur le menu

Bonus Bite The Carriage House Inn, located in the heart of the River Ranch neighborhood, has spacious rooms that are modern and tastefully decorated. It is also conveniently located within short walking distance of numerous shops, restaurants and bars, plus use of the amenities at the City Club is offered to guests during their stay. Staycation, anyone? Pour Restaurant and Wine Bar is located just across a grassy courtyard. The restaurant is popular with oenophiles while the bar, open until 1 a.m. on weekends, is always crowded with sports enthusiasts watching the game.

With the first hint of cooler air arriving in Acadiana, those who have tired of chilled this and grilled that are quick to embrace the hearty, long-simmered dishes they were so quick to flee back in the spring. The area’s rotating bounty of seafood, game and produce keep our seasonal transitions far more exciting than merely going from cold applications to hot ones of the same ingredients. In spring we embrace crawfish season, crabs come on strong in the summertime and oysters are at their peak in fall, plus the onset of hunting season brings fresh options to the cool weather table. The extensive menu at Shucks! in Abbeville is reliably robust and diverse. Plump, briny charbroiled oysters are offered in six different varieties ranging from the traditional garlic, butter and cheese rendition to my personal favorite, candied oysters broiled under a heady bath of crumbled feta and bleu cheeses, as well as a sugarcane and pepper glaze made with Steen’s syrup from Jimmy Steen’s place a few blocks away. The smoked duck and andouille gumbo evolves to its bowl-ready state over a 12-hour process upon a foundation of velvety dark roux hearty enough to unite the smoked meats crowding the bowl. A small bowl of the lush, decadent oyster stew enriched with heavy cream is an elegant way to start a meal. Add the optional andouille sausage to the mix and the stew becomes a complete meal. Shucks! crawfish etouffee is nothing fancy. There is no need. Based on a thick roux the color of peanut butter, the

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complex flavors in the bowl are achieved through a fine balance of spices and aromatics that give up their individual identities to offer up support for the dense profusion of plump crawfish which were harvested from the Atchafalaya Basin at the height of their season. A few short blocks away the menu at Park Restaurant is far less ambitious, but the crowds filling the small diner are no less robust. Prices at this mom-and-pop spot top out at $12.99 for a seafood platter and a large bowl filled to the brim with freshly made vegetable beef soup can be had for a thrifty $4.99. Head southeast to Laplace to the on-site restaurant at Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse to enjoy the family recipes Jared Zeringue brought with him when he bought the heritage business two years ago. He grew up on the family farm in Vacherie and has incorporated a number of “River Road things” onto the menu. In the garlic sausage stew, small chunks of potato and carrot absorb the flavor of the house-made garlic smoked sausage while swimming in a broth enriched with a light roux. Order either the smoked chicken and andouille gumbo or the seafood gumbo (shrimp, crabmeat and okra) and discover a variety that is dramatically different from those farther west. In this part of the region the roux is lighter and the ratio of thickener to broth is lower making for light, broth-y varieties that leave room for something else — like Jared’s peanut butter pie. While out of season now, real deal, nearly-impossible-to-find crawfish bisque made with stuffed heads is offered on Thursday, Friday and Sunday at WJ’s during Easter week in the spring so mark your calendars. Carriage House Inn 603 Silverstone Road, Lafayette 337-769-8400, cityclubatriverranch.com Park Restaurant 204 Park Ave., Abbeville 337-893-9957 Candied Oysters from Shucks!

Pour Cocktail 1 Degaulle Square, Lafayette 337-981-8085, eatatpour.com Shucks! 701 W Port St., Abbeville 337-898-3311, goeatshucks.com Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse Restaurant 769 A West Fifth St., LaPlace 985-652-9990, wjsmokehouse.com

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food+drink

de la cuisine

mollusk memories Oysters three ways to share and savor by marcelle bienvenu photo & styling by eugenia uhl

Oyster Bordelaise


For years, my husband and

I had an annual fall ritual. When the first cold front blew in from the west, we jumped into our pickup truck and wiggled our way through the backroads of three parishes to get to the now shuttered Black’s in Abbeville. It seemed that half the population of Acadiana had the same idea because the place was filled to capacity. While we waited for a table, we each enjoyed a dozen oysters on the half shell taken at the crowded bar. At the table we chowed down on a couple of dozen fried and went on to an old favorite, oysters Bordelaise, in which they are broiled and swimming in a heavenly garlic-butter sauce. Though our appetite was sated, we often brought home a couple of quarts of shucked oysters swimming in their liquor. When I lived in New Orleans, there weren’t too many Fridays that didn’t find me bellying up, standing elbow to elbow with my fellow diners, at the marble counters behind which shuckers pried open countless oysters to fill the orders during the lunch hour. I had a favorite shucker who knew that I preferred the small ones and would not stop my line up of them until I finally gave him a nod when I had my fill. I experienced a host of other oyster dishes at Antoine’s, Brennan’s and Arnaud’s. I often watched purists slurp the oysters straight out of the shell with no adornments. Others, myself included, preferred to douse them in a custom-made sauce of ketchup, hot sauce, a splash of olive oil and a hefty dab of horseradish.

Then there are those who like to squeeze lemon juice over their oysters, and crackers — more often than a cocktail fork — are the vehicles by which oysters get from the tray to mouth. Nothing but cold beer will do to wash it all down. One of the greatest oyster experiences I had in New Orleans was when a neighbor invited me to a family gathering where they were prepared to open a sack of oysters and put them in a variety of delectable dishes. I remember too, even further back in my life, when on Friday afternoons, Papa would visit his old friend, Frank “Banane” Foti who had a stand in St. Martinville where one could get roasted peanuts, fresh vegetables and freshly shucked oysters. Mr. Banane packed the oysters in small white cardboard boxes with wire handles, which Papa would then store in the refrigerator for a Friday night feast after the local high school football game. Papa, and usually a couple of uncles, would gather around the kitchen table. I was allowed to put my stool next to Papa and watch the ritual of the men mixing up their cocktail sauce in little paper cups. The white containers of cold oysters were passed around and around as the men jabbed the oysters, dipped them in sauce and tossed them back. I watched in amazement, but then I was not quite ready to put the gray, slimy mollusks in my mouth. I did, from time to time, dip a couple of crackers in Papa’s cup of sauce into which he poured a little oyster juice. The following recipes should satisfy the cravings of even the most insatiable oyster lover.

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De la cuisine

Steak with Oysters

Chicken & Oyster Pie

This is a favorite of mine. When there’s bit of chill in the air, I love nothing better than sitting on my screened-in porch overlooking Bayou Teche with a tall scotch and soda in my hand, and having my husband grill some steaks topped with oysters and mushrooms.

This recipe is one I treasure. It was given to me by a dear friend, the late, great Keith Courrégé. The trick to these pies is to drain the oysters, then blot them well with paper towel, and reserve the oyster liquor.

Creole seasoning

3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

For each steak:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

3 tablespoons green onions, chopped

2½ dozen freshly shucked oysters, drained, oyster liquor reserved

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 6-12 oysters (depending on size), drained 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 2-3 dashes Tabasco

2 whole chicken breasts, deboned, skinned, cooked, and cut into bite-sized pieces ⅛ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

pinch of thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

Creole seasoning to taste

dash of dry sherry

Season each steak with Creole seasoning (my preference if Chef Prudhomme’s Meat Magic) and put on a hot grill. While the steaks are being grilled, cook the mushrooms in the butter for a minute or so, or until they are slightly soft. Add green onions and parsley and cook, stirring well until wilted, about two minutes. Add the oysters and the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat until edges of the oysters curl. Top each steak with the mixture. Allow one rib-eye per person

1 can (10 count) biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 F. On medium heat, cook the flour in the butter, stirring constantly, until roux turns a rich, deep brown. Add green onions, celery, and parsley, and cook stirring, until the vegetables are limp, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and oysters and cook until edges of the oysters curl. Add oyster liquor and stir until the sauce thickens. If the gravy becomes too thick, add a little chicken broth to thin it. Gently simmer until the mixture is bubbly hot. Pour into a 2-quart casserole and top with biscuits. Bake until biscuits are puffed and nicely browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Oysters Bordelaise In a small saucepan, heat 6 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon garlic (minced), 1 tablespoon green onions (minced), 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

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acadiana profile october/november 2017

and ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce sauce. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Place 2 dozen raw oysters (drained) in a shallow roasting pan and pour butter mixture over them. Salt to taste (if your oysters are salty,

forego the salt). Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste and place the pan under the oven broiler for 2 to 3 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl. Serve immediately. Makes 4 appetizer or 2 main-course servings


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food+drink

recettes de cocktails

whip it good Enjoy a sweet, smooth, syrup-laced cocktail with holiday spices on the water’s edge By Lisa LeBlanc-Berry photo by romero & romero

Fall in Abbeville brings the tantalizing aroma of cinnamon-laced yams bubbling in the oven with brown sugar and the caramel-flavored Steen’s cane syrup that’s produced locally from mid-October until Christmas. At RiverFront a Louisiana Grill, people are jump-starting the holidays in the handsome new bar with the recently introduced Spiced Yam Whip cocktail. Warm up near the fireplace with a festive craft cocktail and observe an array of black-and-white photos reflecting Abbeville’s storied past or enjoy a drink outside on the patio. This elegant seafood haven opened 120 years after Joseph Dupuy gave birth to the town’s first oyster house in 1869. His raw bivalves, sold for 5 cents a dozen, were served near the banks of the Vermilion bayou. Prior to RiverFront’s devastating fire in September of 2012, patrons overlooked the same riverbank while dining. Like a phoenix, a far more beautiful RiverFront arose from the ashes in February, 2016. It was reborn in a larger, lodge-like building with vaulted ceilings, a separate bar area, a wrap-around screen porch and a patio where diners could “cut da rug” on Saturday mornings to live music on the bayou. On cool autumn nights, locals gather in the handsome bar while nibbling on fire-roasted oyster bubbling with garlic butter and smoked gouda, steaming bowls of sweet corn and crab bisque, and buttery eggplant medallions with plump lump crabmeat blanketed in a luscious, creamy béchamel.

RiverFront a Louisiana Grill 530 Park Ave., Abbeville 337-893-3070 riverfrontla.com

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acadiana profile october/november 2017

Spiced Yam Whip Cocktail Combine 3 bar spoons Louisiana sweet potato puree, 1 oz. Frangelico, 1½ ounces sweet potato vodka and 1½ ounces heavy cream in a shaker. Dry stir to break up sweet potato puree. Add ice and shake vigorously. Coat the inside of a martini glass with swirls of caramel syrup and strain into the glass. Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel syrup and a dusting of Cajun Power Sweet Treat powder.


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By Cheré Coen Photographs by Romero & Romero

There was a time when visitors from around the world were drawn to Acadiana for its unique Cajun culinary specialties. That fact remains true, but today what Acadiana’s chefs offer is more a mix of the traditional, the innovative and the international. For the 2017 installment of our Best Chefs feature, we spotlight three chefs who learned the culinary arts in their communities at the elbows of family members and two who bring a special style from abroad. Some obtained their education from formal institutions and others by simply doing. It’s a mixture that still makes Acadiana a unique culinary hub that attracts visitors to our region year after year.

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C

hef Amanda Cusey loved living in Ireland, enjoying the vibrant culinary scene of Dublin and the 28 vacation days awarded every Irish worker — but her parents wanted to move back to the States and they chose Lake Charles for its warm climate and a job opportunity. Cusey decided to follow family. Though she took her first summer off in Lake Charles, her new home took some getting used to. After starting work at The Villa, a new restaurant in downtown Lake Charles owned by longtime restauranteur Michael Sperandeo, a heavy rain flooded the business. That’s when Cusey discovered Acadiana hospitality. “There was this awesome T I P S F ROM THE C HE F outpouring of support from the community,” she said. “I was offered so many kitchens to work out of. People here are super nice.” Cusey hails from Flagstaff, Arizona, but received her Le Cordon Bleu training at the Tanté Marie Culinary Academy in Surrey, England. She Never fear spent her early years working in English gastropubs, then an 1 American diner in Ireland, but “Don’t be afraid longed for more upscale expeof fat. Fat brings a rience and veered into Italian whole bunch of cuisine while working under flavor.” Kristan Burness and Brendan Ward at Fiorentina in Dublin 2 where she ultimately earned “Don’t be afraid of weird — it can go the position of head chef. She either way, awful or worked briefly with Michelin Star Chef Oliver Dunne, helm- awesome. If awful, it’ll be good the ing his Italian-inspired pop-up next time.” restaurant, Eatily, in Dublin’s city center. 3 “It’s been fun,” Cusey said. “Don’t be afraid of “The restaurant business took seasoning.” me all over.” Cusey cooks traditional Italian with Louisiana influences at The Villa, incorporating local seafood in dishes such as the crawfish Pappardelle — crawfish tails in a shellfish bisque with zucchini and cherry tomatoes. One of her favorite dishes is the crab cannelloni, which wraps chilled crabmeat in a tomato jelly with basil mascarpone mousse and roasted cherry tomatoes that’s topped with an aged balsamic. Another favorite is Cusey’s take on barbecue shrimp, utilizing jumbo Gulf shrimp, ’nduja salume that’s equivalent to a spicy prosciutto, garlic, white wine, arugula and red and green peppers with toasted ciabatta for dipping. “I’ll take my French techniques and use Italian ingredients and do some kind of fusion food,” Cusey said. “And we try to use local as much as possible.” The Villa opened earlier this year in the restored Noble Building in downtown Lake Charles by Sperandeo, who operated The Italian Villa restaurant across town for 20 years. 38 |

acadiana profile october/november 2017

Beet risotto with marinated goat cheese at its center, accented with fresh oven-roasted beets and topped with an aged vinaigrette.


lake charles

CHEF a m a n d a cusey The Villa 324 Pujo St. 337-436-6251 • thevillaonpujo.com

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S U NSET

C h e f T r oy Bijeaux Café Josephine 818 Napoleon Ave. 337-662-0008 • cafejosephinesunset.com

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acadiana profile october/november 2017


T Sea bass over a crab cake dotted with lightly fried onion rings.

here’s a wavy career line for Chef Troy Bijeaux. He spent time in the oilfield, then worked 20 years in flooring before opening the Napoleon Avenue Meat Market in Sunset with his wife, Melissa. Then there was the sideline job, cooking up plate lunches as fundraisers for Little League teams hoping to travel to the Little League World Series. It all led to him closing the meat market and turning the space in the heart of Sunset into Café Josephine. Today, the restaurant he calls “fine-food casual dining” draws in customers from miles around — as far as Alexandria and Eunice. “We are truly a hidden destiT I P S F ROM THE C HE F nation — people just enjoy the ambiance and the staff is incredible,” Bijeaux said. “We’re their hidden gem, quality food for an average price.” It’s all about freshness and consistency, Bijeaux said. He uses Chicago prime beef, hydroponic lettuce from Breaux Bridge and brings locally sourced and Murder w h at i t ' s Points oysters for the restaurant’s all about new snazzy oyster bar. In addition to menu items that 1 include such traditional South “It’s not what you Louisiana dishes as gumbo, put in biscuits, it’s crab cakes and a seafood platter, how you stir the Bijeaux loves to shake things up. biscuit dough, how “Life’s about choices,” he said. you fold them.” “On any given day, we have five to seven specials. That allows me 2 to have my creative energy.” “It’s important to Café Josephine is known for talk to customers, to make them Bijeaux’s biscuits that appear on feel comfortable. the table in place of bread. The Without my cheesy, soft-on-the-inside mini customers, I can’t biscuits are cooked fresh and live my dream.” arrive on the table hot. Bijeaux took a beloved biscuit recipe and 3 “did a twist on it” to create this “It’s about giving crowd pleaser. people quality fresh “People come from all over to food.” taste the biscuits,” Bijeaux said. “It’s a little cloud of heaven.” One of the restaurant’s specialties is the crackling biscuit topped with a fried chicken breast strip that’s drizzled with a Steen’s Syrup and bacon cream sauce. For meat lovers, the “Big Chop” grills a thick pork chop in an orange juice reduction and tops the dish with a fig sauce. Bottom line, Bijeaux insists, it’s all about serving a quality, consistent product. “And we put a lot of love in our food,” he concluded. “It’s about living a dream. I’ll never work another day in my life because I’m living a dream.”

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Sweet potatocrusted trout, topped with lump crabmeat and served over asparagus in a lemon-basil butter sauce.

T I P S F ROM THE C HE F

according to ema

1

“Keep it simple. It doesn’t take too much to create something. You don’t need a lot of ingredients.”

2

“You’ve got to have your own passion. I tell my kids no matter what you do, if you’re not driven, if you don’t have the passion, you’re not going to be successful.”

3

“At any time, don’t give anyone a meal you wouldn’t give to your mom. Make meals the best you can, like it’s the last meal you’re going to have.”

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V

isit Bailey’s Seafood & Grill and Ema’s Cafe in Lafayette and you’ll find walls filled with accolades, everything from the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award to the 1998 Best of Show award from the Louisiana Gold Culinary Classic. And yet when owner and chef Ema Haq arrived at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in 1983, cooking was the farthest thing from his mind. “When I first came here I didn’t know how to cook rice,” Haq said. Haq moved to Lafayette from Bangladesh to obtain a mechanical engineering degree but he worked his way through college in a variety of restaurant jobs — experience which led him to open Bailey’s fine dining restaurant in 1993. In 1999, he started an offshore catering business and later Emaco Food Services. That engineering degree? He used it too, many years working at a drilling company by day and the restaurant business by night. When he won the Best of Show award, judge Chef Paul Prudhomme asked where he attended culinary school. “I said, ‘Chef Paul, I’m building rigs in Harahan and Belle Chasse,’” Haq said, adding, “I don’t think I took a day off in three years.” Bailey’s and the more casual breakfast and lunch restaurant Ema’s are landmarks in Lafayette after all these years but Haq is also affectionately known for his Thanksgiving meals that he serves to the elderly, the

acadiana profile october/november 2017

homebound and those in need. Haq and a large group of volunteers invite diners to the restaurant where they are served a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with white tablecloths and cloth napkins. For those who can’t make it to the restaurant, volunteers bring them their meals. This year marks the 25th anniversary of his Thanksgiving community service. For Haq, giving back to the community that welcomed him is vital. When Hurricane Katrina ravished the area, Haq shipped food and supplies to the Hattiesburg American, a sister newspaper to Lafayette’s Daily Advertiser. During the disastrous flood of 2016, he donated profits to the United Way of Acadiana. “The goal is to make a difference, to make it a better place,” he explained. “If you want to make a difference, you have to teach your kids, you have to make sacrifices.” His parents taught him well, Haq said, always helping others in his home country of Bangladesh. “I don’t think we had a meal without sharing,” he recalled. “If I do 20 percent of what my parents did, I’d be a saint.”


l a f ay e t t e

Chef Ema Haq Bailey’s Seafood & Grill a n d E m a’ s C a f e 5520 Johnson St. 337-988-6464 • baileyslafayette.com

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ST. MART I N V I LLE

C h e f B o nn i e Breaux S t. J o h n R e sta u r a n t 203 N. New Market St. 337-394-9994 • thestjohnrestaurant.com

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Crackling-crusted black drum with a fennel marmalade nestled on Abita Amber-infused Brabant potatoes and sautéed haricot vert, topped with butterpoached, jumbo-lump, Blue-Point crabmeat

B

usiness was booming at St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville so Executive Chef Bonnie Breaux didn’t think about applying for the 10th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-off. She also serves as general manager so time is at a premium, but her bartender encouraged her and early this summer she made the cut. “I was the last chef they called and I was the only female,” Breaux said of the announcement. “Needless to say, I couldn’t believe it.” For the June 20 cook-off, Breaux created a cracklingcrusted black drum with a fennel marmalade nestled on Abita Amber-infused Brabant potatoes and sautéed haricot vert, topped with butter-poached, jumbo-lump, Blue-Point crabmeat. She beat 11 of the state’s best chefs and was crowned 2017 Queen of Louisiana Seafood. “The day after I won, the emails, the phone calls, it was amazing,” she said. “I was numb for three days. I still pinch myself every day.” Breaux represented Louisiana at the 14th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off held in July in New Orleans.

She came in fourth — one point from third — but was thrilled to have placed so high among the nation’s best chefs. “That was a huge compliment for me,” Breaux said. “They loved my flavor and that was really important to me. The whole experience was amazing.” Breaux fell into the culinary arts after a divorce. Her brother encouraged her to start a catering business and she operated Breaux’s Cajun Catering in Covington for five years. She moved back to her hometown of Broussard to serve as executive chef at Clementine Dining and Spirits in New Iberia, but a visiting restaurant owner tasted her gumbo and invited her to become a guest chef at the Louisiana-themed Roux in Tampa, Florida. “When I went, my dishes were best-selling so they put them on the menu,” Breaux explained. She remained at Roux in Tampa for 14 months, appearing on local TV shows, preparing a signature dish at the 2017 College Football Championship and cooking with 26 executive chefs for a James Beard Sunday Supper fundraising benefit. In the end however, the lure of home kept whispering in her ear. “I didn’t pursue it,” Breaux explained. “I waited for it to come to me.” And it did. St. John owners Chip and Lucy Durand offered Breaux a chance to run their kitchen and she headed home to the perfect job — and a crown to boot.

T I P S F ROM THE C HE F

At t h e queen's behest

1

“My mother’s famous saying was ‘If you over salt a stew or a gravy, cut up a russet potato and it will absorb the salt.’”

2

“A good cook is a clean cook. Clean as you go.”

3

“If you cook brownies and cookies ahead of the holidays, place an apple slice in the tin and they will stay fresh.”

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L

ike many Cajun chefs, Derek Weisz grew up close to family in his hometown of New Iberia. He would often ride his bike to his grandmother’s house, watching her cook South Louisiana specialties such as pork roast, red beans and rice, pork steak in gravy and a variety of breads stuffed with meat, sausage or cheese. “I grew up down the road from her and I was always at her house,” Weisz explained. “She pretty much cooked everything. I learned a lot from her. That’s where I got into cooking.” After graduating from New Iberia Senior High School Weisz wasn’t sure what the future would bring. But his experience watching his grandT I P S F ROM THE C HE F mother at the stove and trying his own hand at cooking made him consider a job in the culinary arts. He perused many culinary schools and chose the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge. “I knew I wanted to go to culinary from the school in Louisiana because I love h e a rt cooking Louisiana food,” Weisz said. “I love anything seafood, Cajun. I 1 love to cook gumbo, jambalaya.” “Brown the meat Upon graduation, he returned to inside the pot. It his hometown to work at the New gives it that fond Iberia branch of Café des Amis. (meat remnants) Later, Mark Alleman, a Louisiana on the bottom Culinary Institute colleague, hired of the pot.” Weisz to helm the kitchen of his new restaurant, Hook & Boil, located 2 in the heart of Broussard. Weisz “Fish don’t take long has been there ever since. to cook, so don’t With a name like Hook & overcook the fish.” Boil, the menu is a given — lots 3 of fresh, regional seafood. Most of the product arrives fresh from “People who want regional sources, such as the oysters to be chefs should follow their heart.” from Houma, but the crawfish hails from the 3,000-acre Alleman Family Farm. The restaurant also serves boudin from Billeaud’s Grocery of Broussard and tasso and sausage from Poché’s Market in Breaux Bridge, plus a number of beers from Acadiana breweries. Some of Weisz’s favorite dishes are the shrimp and tasso pasta, which marries grilled shrimp and tasso with a house-made spicy alfredo sauce over penne pasta, and the boudin-stuffed chicken. The boudin eggrolls, comprised of boudin, pepperjack cheese, cane syrup and a pepper jelly glaze, are a popular appetizer, and the bread pudding at meal’s end is a must. Next year, Hook & Boil will open its second restaurant, in the former Filling Station restaurant site in downtown Lafayette. Weisz will oversee both establishments but mostly work out of the Broussard restaurant.

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Grilled shrimp and Tasso pasta with a house-made spicy Alfredo sauce over penne pasta.


B RO U SSAR D

Chef Derek Weisz Hook & Boil 209 N. Morgan 337-330-8443 • hookandboil.com

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2017 Tops of Acadiana

by will kalec and fritz esker and select photographs by denny culbert

Coffee

Chicory's & Rêve Coffee Lab We have a tie! It’s hard to imagine a more quaint, cozy gathering space than Chicory’s in Grand Coteau. It’s under the only red light on Martin Luther King Drive in the heart of town and has great sandwiches and smoothies. Chicory’s, 219 East M.L.K. Drive, Grand Coteau, 337-886-5770. At Rêve Coffee Lab (formerly The Lab, until taken over recently by Rêve Coffee Roasters), every bean is roasted in the company’s own micro roaster. Aside from making delicious coffee, the staff makes recommendations on how to make your own best brew. Rêve Coffee Lab, 1042 Camellia Blvd., No. 6, Lafayette, 337-889-5782, revecoffeeroasters.com. - F.E.

Golf Course

Wetlands Smooth, rolling greens provide a serene setting for golfers of all skill levels. Golf pros are on-site to help you get better at the driving range. Plus, there’s a bar and grill that’s perfect for lunch or a drink after 18 holes. - F.E.

2129 North University Ave. Lafayette wetlandsgc.org

Person of the Year

Chef

News Anchor

Nic Hunter

Troy Bijeaux of Cafe Josephine

Joe Sam

The night before Nic Hunter was sworn in as Lake Charles’ first new mayor in 17 years, he and his wife stayed in and play board games. Monopoly and Scattergories, specifically. Nic got crushed in both. Never fear, though, fine citizens of Lake Charles; your new mayor has done plenty of winning in life and plans to take his experience as a successful small-business owner and apply it to this civic office. Given Hunter’s track record, the western jewel of Acadiana should “pass go” for years to come. nicformayor.com - W.K.

How dedicated was chef Troy Bijeaux to turning Café Josephine into a Cajun culinary destination? Well, he didn’t lease the building. He bought the building. Ever since, he’s been creating some of the best traditional Cajun food anywhere in Acadiana. That success has made Chef Troy a bit of a local celeb, as he frequently partakes in the Eat Lafayette campaign and often gives cooking demonstrations for morning TV segments. - W.K.

The guy might have two first names, but when it comes to news in Acadiana, Joe Sam is the last word. Wait, scratch that. He’s actually the first word, considering he anchors KLAF’s morning show. The point is, Joe Sam and news are synonymous. He also has a ridiculously impressive wardrobe, evidenced by his bright ensembles that dwarf the shine of the morning sun. Don’t believe us? Tune in and see for yourself.- W.K.


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tops of a c adian a

Steakhouse

Café Josephine This culinary jewel in Sunset is where cow meets Cajun, which makes sense considering the place was a meat market before a restaurant. Known for serving “Food With An Attitude,” Café Josephine’s menu is pleasantly surprising and unexpected. With that said, the place is known for their steaks, especially when patrons order them with lump crabmeat, lobster butter and claws, or even crawfish etouffee on top. - W.K.

818 Napoleon Ave. Sunset 337-662-0008 cafejosephinesunset.com

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50

Favorite Bank: Capital One

tops o f a c a d i a n a

Seafood

Landry’s (New Iberia) Some days, you’re in the mood for Cajun food; on other days you might want a steak or seafood. Acadiana Profile readers want both in one place and picked Landry’s, with renowned chef Alex Patout. Friday and Saturday nights feature Landry’s Grand Buffet with live Cajun music. landryscajunrestaurant.com - F.E.

B&B

Old Castillo This beauty of a B&B, built in 1827 along Bayou Teche under the “Evangeline Oak,” is on the National Register of Historic Homes. All seven rooms feature period antiques and balconies. The breakfast includes beignets, bacon and homemade cafe au lait. 20 Evangeline Blvd., St Martinville, oldcastillo.com - F.E.

Jewelry

Dianna Rae Jewelry When you’re looking for that perfect engagement or wedding ring for the love of your life, you want it to be special. At Dianna Rae, customers can design their own rings to give them a personal flavor. - F.E.

500 Settlers Trace Blvd. No. 1 Lafayette diannaraejewelry.com

Casino

Best Band

Place to Hear Live Music

Golden Nugget Lake Charles

Chubby Carrier

Rhythms on the River

If you want Vegasstyle gaming that’s a short drive away, check out the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. Over 1,600 slots, 79 table games, and six live-action poker tables are there for you to try your luck. 550 Golden Nugget Blvd., Lake Charles, goldennugget.com/ lake-charles - F.E.

Did you know Chubby Carrier is a published author? It’s true and his book is entitled, “Who Stole the Hot Sauce?” Heck if we know Chubby, but while we figure out this condiment caper, we’ll take a break and shake our moneymakers to your wicked, self-proclaimed “swamp funky zydeco” GrammyAward winning sound. Though he’s been touring for more than 25 years, Chubby shows no signs of slowing down, as his performance calendar is booked from now until the end of the year with local and national gigs. chubbycarrier.com - W.K.

Music is good for the soul, and free music is even better. Every spring and fall, Acadiana dances to the beat of this six-week concert series, which has featured CheeWeez and Louisiana Red. Food, drinks, music, and fun. 1100 Camellia Blvd., Lafayette, facebook.com/ rhythmsontheriver - F.E.

News Station

KATC No other news station in southwest Louisiana features an on-air crew as trusted and talented as the crew at KATC. At 5, 6 and 10 p.m., Jim Hummel and Marcelle Fontenot (a former Tops of Acadiana winner) anchor the broadcasts. Rob Perillo heads Storm Team 3, along with colleagues Daniel Phillips and Eric Zernich. When you wake up, Tracy Wirtz (another former Tops winner) Dave Baker and Scott Brazda open our eyes during “Good Morning Acadiana.” - W.K.


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tops of a c adian a

Boudin

Nunu’s in Maurice This year, the most spirited (and spicy) Tops category goes to a link that UL professor and boudin expert Robert Carriker called “decidedly rich in flavor, reminiscent of the way locals have been eating boudin for generations.” Nunu’s boudin has a unique texture – one bite might be meat and rice, another might be “fat and a bit of liver.” As Carriker says, “If that scares you then you shouldn’t be eating boudin in the first place.” Amen. - W.K.

309 East Lafayette St. Maurice 337-898-3355 nunus.com


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favorite Medical Professional: Kevin Duplechain MD

tops o f a c a d i a n a

Meteorologist

Rob Perillo Blame it on the rain…but don’t say Rob Perillo didn’t warn you. Frankly, Perillo’s dominance in this TOPS category is causing us to dig deep into our musical vault of songs that contain weather references. Last year, the musical “Annie.” This year, Milli Vanilli. Next year? Who knows? That’s our problem though, Rob. You just go on and keep doing your thing — which is informing us of whether we’ll need a jacket this weekend, or sticking with us for hours and hours during storm coverage. - W.K.

Spa

Spa Mizan When you need some pampering, Spa Mizan offers Acadiana residents a variety of indulgent spa services, including aromatherapy, massages, shampoo and styling, manis and pedis and day packages. There’s even a “create your own spa package” to customize your experience. - F.E.

2319 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette spamizan.com

Museum

Food Truck

Boutique

Hilliard University Art Museum

Taco Sisters

Ricki’s Boutique

Located at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, this museum connects art and education. Students sketch on-site and artists talk to visitors about their work. The permanent collection has 18th- through 21stcentury European, Asian, and American works of art. 710 East St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette, hilliardmuseum.org - F.E.

The brainchild of siblings Molly and Katy Richard, the Taco Sisters have taken their Johnston Street show on the road with Acadiana’s can’tmiss food truck. Usually parked in front of energy companies or large medical facilities, the Taco Sisters food truck features the same staples as its popular brick and mortar, like their famous fish tacos and the smoked and smothered brisket burritos. Wondering where this freshness on four wheels is rolling today? Check the truck’s page at facebook.com/ tacosistersmobileairstream - W.K.

Ricki O’Brien has been dressing her customers for over 20 years. She started at Abdalla’s and then opened her own place, Ricki’s Boutique in New Iberia, which has been going strong for the last 19 years. Aside from personal service, you’ll find Vera Bradley shoes and fashions from Karen Kane, Ruby Yaya and Johnny Was. 1000 Parkview Drive, New Iberia, 337-367-5040 - F.E.

Pet Service

All Creatures Your furry friends are family, and they deserve the best. You voted for them to get it at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in New Iberia, where the caring staff provides surgical, dental, and preventive medical treatments for dogs, cats, horses, and exotic animals. They also have care guides to educate owners. 220 North Lewis St., New Iberia, AllCreatures.VetStreet.com - F.E.


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Sandwich Shop

Great Harvest No doubt, the folks at Great Harvest got their bread up. No, not because money is on their mind. Meals are on their mind! Sporting a menu packed with a bevy of sandwiches, patrons at Great Harvest have a deliciously difficult decision when it comes to picking which two slices of bread to slap meat and veggies between. On Mondays alone, Great Harvest freshly bakes nine different kinds of bread, including Cinnamon Burst Extreme and Cracked Pepper Parmesan. - W.K.

854 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette 337-236-8966 greatharvestofacadiana.com

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Charitable Event: Miles Perret Cancer Center Games of Acadiana

tops o f a c a d i a n a

Italian Restaurant

iMonelli Dinner at iMonelli is a memory as much as it is a meal. A complete contrast to the rise of menu service apps and eating on the go, iMonelli remains an old-school Italian restaurant, the perfect place to take a date, order a few bottles of wine, and actually strike up a deep conversation. The dining area is lit to spark romance and the menu options range from classic to creative. 4017 Johnston St. Lafayette, 337-989-9291- W.K.

Sports Reporter

Jay Walker Since 1991, this New-Englanderby-birth, Cajun-by-choice has been the familiar radio voice of UL Athletics, broadcasting football, men’s basketball and baseball in addition to his Monday through Friday sports talk show on KPEL 1420 AM. From football bowl games, NCAA Tournament berths in basketball, to trips to the College World Series; Jay Walker has seen it all…and tells everyone about it. - W.K.

Spirits Company

Marcello’s Wine Market A wide selection of wines for people of different tastes and budgets compelled readers to cast votes for Marcello’s. If you want to be a little more adventurous and make your own drinks, Marcello’s also sells home brewing and winemaking supplies. - F.E.

340 Kaliste Saloom Suite C Lafayette marcelloswine.com

Bar

Local Brew

Special Events Space

Artmosphere

Bayou Teche Brewing

City Club at River Ranch

Beer’s a family affair at Bayou Teche Brewing. The Knott brothers dreamed of making beers that would pair well with Cajun cuisine. Now they make those beers with family at the family property — which includes covered and open outdoor seating, a stage for live music and an event space — on the banks of the brewery’s namesake waterway. Ragin’ Cajun Ale is the favorite among readers. 1106 Bushville Hwy, Arnaudville, bayoutechebrewing.com

If you want to make a birthday, anniversary, wedding or family reunion more special, there’s no better place than City Club. Whether you need a large room for 400 guests or smaller rooms for more intimate gatherings, City Club has it. 1100 Camellia Blvd., #202, Lafayette, cityclubatriverranch. com - F.E.

Artmosphere is a watering hole, grill, art gallery, and music venue all rolled into one. There’s live music every night and if you want to wow your friends with your singing, Tuesday’s karaoke night! The food includes ingredients from Artmosphere’s own garden. 902 Johnston St., Lafayette, artmosphere. vpweb.com - F.E.

- F.E.

Radio Personality

DJ Digital at Hot 107 Don’t let the name fool you. DJ Digital is flesh and blood. How can be so sure? Well, he professes to loving music, vinyl records, shoes and bacon. There’s your proof! Computers and robots don’t have feet and they damn sure don’t eat hot, sizzling, crispy pork. Speaking of heat, that’s what DJ Digital brings to the airwaves in buckets from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. every weekday, mixing edgy banter with fresh hip-hop and R&B. - W.K.


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Pizza

Pizza Village It takes a village… wait, no it doesn’t. It just takes one hungry, ambitious and determined eater to polish off a pie from either Pizza Village’s Moss Street or Kaliste Saloom locations. Not surprisingly, all the standards appear on the menu. There’s a meateater’s pizza, a veggie pizza and a “works” pizza with everything. But if you’re looking for a recommendation, order a Landry Special – that’s pepperoni, ground beef, shrimp, onion and jalapeno – and thank us later. - W.K.

1935 Moss St. Lafayette 337-232-1418 2340 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette 337-706-8644 pizza-village.com


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Meril - Famed local Chef Emeril Lagasse brings a fun addition to the brunch scene in the Central Business District. Tip: For dessert, ask for the unlisted menu item — cotton candy.

Cavan Lula Distillery Compere Lapin Seaworthy Maypop Central City BBQ

For a nighttime dine, these new r e s tau r a n t s won’t d i s a p p o i n t. . .

that you and your krewe will want on your radar. And your social media feed....

taken to the streets to find a few of the latest hotspots, concepts and activities

things up a bit and incorporate a few of the new New Orleans joints? We’ve

When the desire to laissez les bon temps rouler comes calling, why not shake

feeling of déjà vu hits. Isn’t this the exact cocktail-fueled itinerary of our list trip?

Orleans. The group texts begin, suggestions start to flow, plans emerge. Then a

Scenario: one of your impulse-driven friends suggests a long weekend in New

a guide to


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New

By A m y G a b r i e l

Orleans

NEW


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Breakfast is what you eat all week while you’re scrambling to get ready for work. Brunch is the way to eat the first meal of the day while on vacation. Catering to this very notion is Willa Jean. Start your day sunny-side up in front of the “U need a biscuit” brick wall and enjoy a leisurely brunch amongst the hustle bustle of the dapper servers and energetic atmosphere. Ideal for a group who has varying tastebuds, the open aired space of St. Roch Market, a modern southern

Brunch is the New Breakfast

The Central Business District is home to the NOPSI, which touts a rooftop pool with sweeping skyscraper views and some of the softest bedding and terry cloth robes in the city. Not to mention 24-hour room service from restaurant Public Service. The Ace Hotel trends toward the hip set, thanks to cool kid elements like an in-house music venue in the lobby with entertainment nearly every night and supremely easy access to neighboring restaurants, a coffee house and eclectic shopping all on one block. If charming courtyards made of pink brick, minimalist chic rooms and a lively bar are on your checklist, the Catahoula Hotel is calling your name. For classic Southern comfort, look no further than the Garden District gem Henry Howard Hotel and get giddy over elements like brass instruments as fireplace decor and custom antique furnishings and finishes. On the flipside, recently opened new-wave hostels like The Drifter and The Quisby offer an alternative to the traditional hotel experience, still with an abundance of personality, comfort and clean elements.

S l u m b e r Pa r t y


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food hall, houses several in-house food and beverage vendors so you can disperse and gather. Kenton’s Food & Bourbon has introduced an interesting twist on a side dish - every brunch entree comes with coffee or tea and a drink of your choice: Chipotle Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Prefer your morning meal with a side of live jazz and a French Quarter balcony view? Cafe Sbisa is a hot spot. And since many restaurants close to play catch up and take a breather from the weekend, the coastal themed DTB on Oak Street will have you covered thanks to Friday - Monday brunch service. Oak Street Po-Boy Festival

Hell Yes Fest Comedy Festival

Celebration in the Oaks

Treme Creole Gumbo Festival

New Orleans Book Festival

Mirliton Festival

Words & Music Festival: A Literary Feast

New Orleans Fringe Festival

Voodoo Music + Art Experience

New Orleans Film Festival

Ponderosa Stomp Festival

Louisiana Seafood Festival

KREWE of Boo! Parade

Crescent City Blues and BBQ

CAC’s Art for Arts’ Sake

Beignet Fest

Fa l l F e s t i va ls Gone Wild

...seen 16 beers on draft? Grab a cold one at Freret Beer Room from the rotating list.

...needed an afternoon jolt? The Cold Brew Old Fashioned at French Quarter locale Saint Cecilia will give you a buzz with a buzz.

...had caviar and with your champagne? Step into the sleek new bubbly bar Effervescence to give it a try.

...had a drink that was lit on fire? The Holy Water at Seaworthy at the Ace Hotel will light up your night.

...had a vodka, gin or rum drink where the booze is made? Visit Lula Restaurant Distillery to see the magic happen - tours available.

...seen a champagne saber? Swing by the picturesque courtyard at Brennan’s every Friday to catch the fabulous saber when the clock strikes 5 p.m.

The geaux cup culture in the Crescent City will often inspire the desire to tip back a few libations to keep the good times rolling. The mix of dive bars overflowing with personality and sophisticated establishments filled to the brim with refined and classic cocktails that are synonymous to the city make for a fabulous flow of options. But have you ever…

A Spirit’s Guide


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The Historic New Orleans Collection V i s i t o r t i p: the shop houses commemorative tricentennial souvenirs to celebrate the upcoming 300th birthday of New Orleans in 2018.

New Orleans Museum of Art Ashe Cultural Arts Center New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint National WWII Museum Southern Food and Beverage Museum Madame John’s Legacy

New Orleans is often all about living in the moment, but the city also loves to glance back to revel in its roots. Get a glimpse of the traditions and legends that make the city sing with pride‌

Culture Fix


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When it comes to procuring goods, Magazine Street pulls like a magnet, particularly with the openings of well-appointed decor spots like Sunday Shop, divine jewelry boutiques like Crowe and chic luxury label clothing stores like Pilot and Powell. A new shopping addition to the CBD, the South Market District offers specialty stores like art and design bookstore The Stacks and picturesque Avery Fine Parfumerie where you can shop for niche and hard to come by signature scents. And for a reliable visit for the essentials, make tracks to The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk to shop a mix of local and upscale nationwide stores in a pinch.

Strolling the streets for a little lagniappe is one of the great joys of travel, and New Orleans does its part to deliver unique finds that may result in you not being able to zip your suitcase. When in NOLA, start with the siren call of Royal Street in the French Quarter where the shop windows of Vintage 329 tempt with Chanel. Stationery store Color Cards is stacked with artful cards and postage to procure, and features scribe services from an on-site calligrapher. Take a jaunt down a side street in the Quarter and you’ll discover one-of-a-kind finds like modern mystical jewelry from Porter Lyons and candles at Hundred Acre.

R e ta i l T h e r a p y

Crescent City themed nail colors from Native Polish at Buff Beauty Salon

Shotgun House tote bag from Magda Boreysza from Fleurty Girl

Coffee table book Snippets of New Orleans from artist and illustrator Emma Fick

A set of parasol socks from Bonfolk

Enamel pins ranging from Sazeracs to Shotgun Houses from Dirty Coast

A pair of NOLAinspired and named sunglasses from KREWE

Streetcar bow tie from NOLA Couture

New Orleans map umbrella from Royal Praline Company

No trip is complete without a souvenir or two…or six. But shot glasses and coffee mugs are so passe. Instead, pick up a modern and locally themed memento to commemorate your visit. A few of our favorite things…

Souvenir S av v y

While at the Riverwalk Shopping Outlets, step right up to the Imperial Woodpecker Sno-ball cart, and then make beautiful music on the stand-up xylophones at Freenotes Harmony Park in Spanish Plaza. A charming bookstore like The French Library on Magazine Street is filled with francophile picture books and offers tea, cookies and game time. Make a beeline to the Bywater to explore Crescent Park. The flora and fauna on the riverfront is a beauty to behold, and the kids will love to climb the “Rusty Rainbow” bridge. Behind the botanical gardens at the New Orleans Museum of Art, kids will go wild for the amusement park themed Carousel Gardens and the adjacent fairytale inspired Storyland. If your young ones start asking for lunch, take them for the wildest bite they’ve ever had at Bug Appetit in the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium. Featured chefs will incorporate bugs into dishes for you to sample.

New Orleans is certainly a playground for grown-ups, but there are plenty of family friendly activities you can hit if you’ve brought your under-aged krewe.

If Yo u H av e K i d d o s i n T o w. . .


Get Started Acadiana-born companies thrive and grow in businessfriendly, low-cost, nurturing environment

A

few years ago, when the post-beer munchies struck in Lafayette or Lake Charles and you wanted snacks without driving, a slim selection of Chinese food or franchise pizza joints were your only food delivery options. Acadiana native Chris Meaux saw an opportunity. Meaux and his team built Waitr, a delivery system that brought restaurants together with a team of delivery drivers and an easy app that let hungry locals order from dozens of restaurants. It turns out, Lafayette and Lake Charles weren’t the only cities where comprehensive food delivery simply wasn’t a common thing, and Waitr quickly spread to cover 25 markets and 110 cities. Acadiana has a historical tradition of nurturing small businesses, but in recent years, pushes for entrepreneurship have come back to the forefront as the region tries to diversify its industry. Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations have developed initiatives such as Lafayette’s Opportunity Machine, an entrepreneur training center offering coaching, technology resources, networking opportunities and even shared office space for start-ups in need of a home base. The goal of OM and similar programs across the region is to create the next wave of regionalgone-national businesses that provide jobs and opportunity here at home.

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It’s much less expensive to live here than it is to live in California or, say, Seattle, and that translates into lower costs all through the business. Tim Handley

Raconteur Games, the brainchild of Louisiana native Nicholas Laborde, is one of the businesses that has worked with OM to help secure funding and make business connections for their line of indie video games. Their most recent game, Evangeline (currently on the PC platform but expanding to Xbox in early 2018), takes its by Megan Romer name from the storied heroine of Longfellow’s Cajun epic, and allows players to explore the question of what you would do if you could make one last phone call to your loved ones. Laborde moved to Lafayette for college and finds personal and professional inspiration from the vibrant cultural scene in the region. “People here are not like people anywhere else on earth,” he says. His reasons for starting his business here, though, are not purely personal. He explains that a Louisiana state tax credit offers serious incentive for people starting creative technology businesses to build and stay in Louisiana. CollegeAD is another OM member. This website and media company, founded and managed by a trio of UL Lafayette grads, offers comprehensive news and updates about the industry of college sports. Though based here, the site content is written by a network of writers around the country


The Senior Class Innovation has been a mainstay of South Louisiana culture since before recorded history, as locals have always had to find clever ways to deal with and benefit from the trials and tribulations of life in swamp country. That spirit of ingenuity has passed through every culture that’s taken up residence in Acadiana and continues into the modern era. These established companies continue to innovate and stay relevant, providing inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the region.

Stuller Lafayette-born Matt Stuller built his jewelry manufacturing company from scratch in 1970, and it is now one of the largest jewelry companies in the United States. Over 1,500 employees handle the design and fabrication of thousands of pieces of fine jewelry daily, supplying hundreds of independent jewelry stores throughout the U.S.

who keep their fingers on the pulse of athletic departments of American colleges and drive traffic via a massive Twitter feed and email list. A June 2017 presenting partnership with Adidas indicates that CollegeAD has made the transition to a full-on player in the sports media scene. More than just tech, Opportunity Machine also works with inventors and “stuff”-based entrepreneurs, such as Wayne Nix’s RNvention company, makers of a soon-to-be-released multi-purpose nursing tool called the MultiNix. Youngsville-based Nix, who is a registered nurse and a registered respiratory therapist and who also holds an MBA, sees tremendous opportunity for medical equipment entrepreneurship in the region. “We have all of these medical people, and all of these research scientists at the universities, and all of this biomedical research happening, [but we also] have all of these engineers” says Nix. “It’s amazing to me that we haven’t built up a medical equipment manufacturing industry.” Some of the hurdles are regulatory, Nix feels, but he’s ready to jump those hurdles and go big. Not all local entrepreneurs came to Acadiana for business reasons. Tim Handley, owner of Fly Guys Drone Services LLC, moved to Lafayette from California with his wife (who is from the area) when their daughter decided to attend LSU. “You know how people from here are,” he says. “They can never stay away long.” Still, he sees major benefits to starting his business here. “It’s much less expensive to live here than it is to live in California or, say, Seattle, and that translates into lower costs all through the business.”

Tony Chachere’s Creole Foods It’s rare to find a household in South Louisiana that doesn’t keep a shaker of Tony’s in the cupboard (or right out on the table). This family-owned company, best-known for its eponymous spice blend, was founded in 1970 in Opelousas by Tony himself, a retired Cajun chef. Seventy five employees ship the famous green can and other delicacies to spicy food-lovers around the world.

People here are not like people anywhere else on earth Nicholas Laborde

Metal Shark Boats Coastal Louisiana has a storied history of boat-building, from carved wooden canoes of the Attakapas to the famous Higgins boats of New Orleans, and Metal Shark, founded in 1983 in Jeanerette by boatbuilder Jimmy Gravois, carries that tradition into the modern era. Two hundred and fifty employees now build everything from fishing boats to police and military vehicles near New Iberia.

Handley has built successful businesses from scratch before, and started his drone service company, which offers photographic and data collection capabilities to everyone from golf courses to real estate developers to the entertainment industry, with the goal of making it a turnkey franchise for business-minded drone enthusiasts throughout the country. Thus far, there are offices in three cities and Handley expects business to double annually over the next few years. Tech and industry are not the only arenas in which entrepreneurship is burgeoning in the region. South Louisiana, with our great tradition of food and drink, is home to a number of growing breweries, distilleries and artisanal food producers. One of the fastest-growing is Louisiana Spirits and Bayou Rum, which opened its Lacassine distillery in 2011 and released its first spirits two years later. “The inception of Bayou Rum stemmed from a conversation among co-founders that took place during a popular Southern pastime — duck-hunting: ‘If Louisiana is the birthplace of sugarcane, why is no one making a high-quality rum in the state?’” says media relations specialist Jess Civello. The company has grown to 22 employees, and 2017 marks their first year of full national distribution through a partnership with the Stoli company, with international distribution on the imminent horizon. What’s next for Louisiana start-ups? Time will tell, but given the current crop of fast-spreading businesses and increased investment, the future certainly looks bright.

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special promotional section

Acadiana Profile magazine’s Kingfish section ackowledges accomplished businessmen of Acadiana. Generous, durable and unflinching in character, these Kingfish give more to others than to themselves, and for this they are recognized in this issue of Acadiana Profile magazine. Clothing and styling provided by Mr. Frank Camalo with F. Camalo’s. We would like to congratulate F. Camalo’s on celebrating 40 years in business.

R iver O aks catering and event center

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SpECIAL pROMOTIOnAL SECTIOn

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SpECIAL pROMOTIOnAL SECTIOn

RIGHT TO LEFT: Don Hargroder, Bryan McLain, Andrew Ahrens, Dr. Chris Fontenot, MD, FACS and Larry Curtis

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special promotional section

Andrew Ahrens Founder and Chief Investment Manager of Ahrens Investment Partners

Andrew is founder and Chief Investment Manager of Ahrens Investment Partners, a local investment advisory firm that manages more than a half billion dollars in assets for its clients. Andrew, a native of Louisiana, began his career in 1989 after graduating from LSU. During his 27 years in the industry he has been selected by Barron’s magazine and the Financial Times as one of the top financial advisors in the country. He has also provided guest commentary on CNBC and Fox Business channels as well as being quoted in popular financial publications. The firm’s mission is to provide unbiased investment advice for their clients to help them reach their unique financial goals. In addition to serving his clients, Andrew is active in raising money for various charities. An active investor in startup companies, Andrew enjoys helping local entrepreneurs grow their companies, providing jobs, and opportunities in the Acadiana area. Andrew is married and is the proud father of three daughters. “This is such a rewarding profession, being able to work with so many wonderful people and help them to achieve their financial goals.”

Clothing provided by F. Camalo

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special promotional section

Don Hargroder Automotive Dealer

What began as a small Chrysler dealership is now twelve franchises with over ten locations that include GMC, Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Toyota. “I am humbled by the success of Courtesy Automotive Group,” says Don Hargroder. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the great people in the organization and of course my family’s support.” This year, Courtesy Automotive Group finished in the Top Four Companies of Acadiana’s Top 50 Private Companies. Their success extends from Don’s philosophy and the company’s namesake: courtesy to each other, courtesy to customers, and courtesy to the community.

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special promotional section

Larry Curtis Attorney

Somehow Larry Curtis manages to find the right balance between a demanding professional career, commitment to community and family. Entering his fourth decade in the legal profession, Larry is recognized as one of Louisiana’ s best personal injury attorneys. Twice in the last three years, he was selected by Best Lawyers® as Lafayette’s “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs. Larry’s focus on community involvement finds its foundation in the Catholic Church’s Social Justice movement, his membership in Knight’s of Columbus, Council 7275, and through annual charitable giving to local schools and organizations.

Clothing provided by F. Camalo

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special promotional section

Bryan McLain Founder/CEO

Bryan McLain’s enthusiasm for building has led to nearly 1,000 Acadiana home sites, hundreds of custom homes, and an expanding, cuttingedge Cottage Home Rental concept. “Sylvia and I have developed exceptional land for our Boutique-style neighborhoods, built homes for great people, and have proudly created new, unique living environments. It’s a dream career.” McLain Companies is a family business, employing three the couple’s blended family of six. An important part of their identity, their dedication to the St. Jude Dream Home project has manifested in eight donated lots and over $10M for St. Jude over the past eight years.

Clothing provided by F. Camalo

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special promotional section

Dr. Chris Fontenot, MD, FACS Urologist Southern Urology Group

With 18 years of urological experience, Chris has had the honor and privilege of treating patients with bladder, kidney, and infertility problems. He specializes in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and provides Mona Lisa TouchŽ therapy for women. Diverse in his scope, he also treats children with complications from Spina Bifida, and men with fertility problems through procedures such as microsurgical vasectomy reversal. Louisiana Life has repeatedly named him one of Louisiana’s Best Doctors. He will be president of the Louisiana State Urological Society in 2019. Chris is a proud family man and LSU football fan.

Clothing provided by F. Camalo

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culture Joie de vivre

les artistes

the house that cajun homes built Ted Bertrand’s downtown Sunset gallery makes space for his paintings and the work of other local artists By William Kalec Portrait by romero & Romero

For Ted Bertrand the

preservation project starts (and ends) with a paint job. He is an unapologetic and non-traditional documentarian of a culture he hustles to capture before the creeping shadow of homogenization covers everything. On the busiest street in this never-busy town, across from the church and without a stoplight in sight, sits a century-old bank turned art gallery — a longawaited “place of my own” for an artist whose clout was strengthened by artistically reproducing the places of others. Inside, Bertrand is putting the finishing touches on a commissioned piece, a colorful and even whimsical


culture

les artistes

painting of an old Cajun-style home with a dominant front porch located along Highway 31 near Robin Bridge. Two stately oaks frame the dwelling, giving the structure a prominence impossible to ignore. Such subjects — unmistakably Acadiana places and people — are Bertrand’s bread and butter. “My goal with each painting is to bring out what’s already there,” Bertrand says. “To illustrate the beauty that comes with age.” That same attitude is exhibited in Bertrand’s new gallery. In May 2017, Bertrand transformed The Bank of Sunset Building on Napoleon Avenue (which was also the Town Hall for many years) into the ARTworks by Ted Bertrand Gallery & Studio. Bertrand breathed life into the dated structure, creating a platform to display not only his works, but the paintings of others. For instance, in August, Bertrand’s Gallery also housed the works of long-time Sunset artist Bea Sibille. Since its opening, paintings by Anne Matt – the Gallery’s artist in residence, if you will – have hung right beside Bertrand’s pieces. Open houses are a regular thing, and not only attract visual artists, but also local musicians and writers, too. And of course, Bertrand gladly welcomes consumer foot traffic, even when he’s in studio painting. “I’m not sure that the intention was ever to have a quiet place where I could work uninterrupted. If it was, then this wasn’t the place for that, because we always have people coming in – which is the point of having this gallery,” Bertrand says with a bit of a chuckle. “My flow or rhythm, my concentration, I guess, isn’t easy to keep, because we always have visitors. So I don’t know if I’m getting more done here, but I like having the space. “I like having it to display not only my work, but others’, as well.” The route Bertrand traversed to get to this place — 855 Napoleon Avenue in Sunset, to be specific, if you wanna pop on in — is a bit unorthodox compared to his Cajun painting contemporaries, but does explain why his subject matter hasn’t altered over the years. Growing up, Bertrand didn’t receive formal art training. Instead, he spent his

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childhood on his family farm in central St. Landry Parish. The setting was quintessentially Cajun. Looking back, it’d be perfect for a Bertrand painting — they grew cotton and soy, raised animals in a sparsely populated area that somehow maintained a strong sense of community. Those images Bertrand witnessed all around him as a youngster are now the inspiration for all of his pieces. Swamp landscapes painted upon horizontal wooden slabs. Cajun cottages, wooden docks, cotton gins, grain bins and any other dated or decaying structure that exudes authenticity captured on canvas. Bertrand refers to his paintings as “somewhat expressionistic” in that the colors used gleefully distort any semblance of reality, while the size and scope of the subject itself still rings true. A Cajun house still looks like a Cajun house in a Bertrand piece…just with bright shades that bring a sense of life and movement to the inanimate focal point. Over the years, Bertrand’s work has appeared at The Frame House Gallery in Lake Charles, The Historic Washington Art Gallery in Washington, and dining establishments like NuNu’s in Arnaudville and the Grand Coteau Bistro. He’s also a regular at art shows like The Big Easel in Lafayette. Ted’s wife, Ava, played a large role in the formation of the Sunset Gallery and still has a hand in its day-to-day operation. She’s also a frequent rider through the backroads of South Louisiana with her husband – short day trips without a written-in-ink plan or destination. Together they search for what’s left (structurally, anywhere) of a unique slice of Americana indigenous only to this part of the country. “As an artist, this area just gives you so much to work with,” Bertrand says. “I’ve found inspiration — places and people to paint — for years and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to paint everything, because there’s that much out there. There is a historical element to it, a preservation or a time capsule element. “But, yes, it does require a little more effort to find interesting houses or buildings or even landscapes to paint. You have to drive a little further, or look a little harder. But it’s still there if you’re willing to find it.” “I think a lot of people notice the colors I use,” Bertrand says. “They grab your attention, and I think they make you want to take a longer look or a closer look at the painting.”

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culture

la musique

happy go lucky D.L. Menard, the ‘Cajun Hank Williams,’ lives on through his music By Michael Patrick Welch | Photo by david simpson

The famous Cajun country and western

singer D.L. Menard left instructions for his July funeral, which was live-streamed all over the world. He wanted the services held at Family Life Church in Lafayette, where Menard’s son Todd serves as pastor. He, of course, also wanted live music at his coming home celebration—with the stipulation that no one would play his biggest hit, the French two-step, “La Porte en Arrière (The Back Door).” “If I am going to heaven I don’t want to be sneaking in the back door,” Todd Menard quoted his father’s wishes to the many gathered at the funeral. “I want to go right straight through the pearly gates!” The 85-year-old man known as “the Cajun Hank Williams” reportedly did not hear Cajun music until he was a teen already obsessed with mastering American country and western music on his guitar. Not until the 1950s, when Cajun music was revived as Louisiana’s most popular dance music, did Menard begin singing his songs in French. With all of Louisiana’s various styles of music eventually added subtly to his palette, Menard went on to write what many consider to be perfect waltzes and two-steps, combining Cajun and country music in a way no one else has, or likely will. “That booming voice and those beautiful turns of phrase in his songs,” says fiddle player Dave Greely of Mamou Playboys who, having always admired Menard’s influence, collaborated with the man both at live shows and on Menard’s Grammynominated 2010 album, “Happy Go Lucky.”  “His songs are so carefully crafted. He would give the impression that he was a loose cannon, but his musical work is so precise. I’m thinking of the way he played guitar on that trio album he did with Marc Savoy and Dewey Balfa. Those bass notes perfectly paced and placed. Built like a fine piece of furniture he might have made

— crafted to last forever. You can think of crazy personalities and party animals but those guys were precise and exacting … They would make it look easy and careless but it was not.” The story goes that Menard quit his service station job in the ‘50s to become an independent chair maker, giving him more free time to play music. In 1962, Menard’s Louisiana Aces band had their back door

hit, and then disbanded in 1967. A frequent performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Menard was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and in 2010 “Happy Go Lucky” was nominated for a Grammy. He gave his last public performance in July at an event in Erath celebrating the 55th anniversary of “The Back Door.” Anyone who talks about Menard cannot help mentioning the outsized personality, and peculiar sense of humor that made his live shows even that much better.

“Later on in his life he had a running joke that he was very arrogant and conceited, though everyone knew it was a joke,” says Greely. “I remember he was playing at this birthday party one time at a camp, and up above him in the cypress trees was a big bald eagle nest, and at one point as he was playing he shouted into the mic, ‘Even the eagles love me!’”


Photographs courtesy The Acadiana Advocate acadianaprofile.com

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la musique

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“Kingdom of Zydeco” author and music journalist Michael Tisserand felt lucky to share a friendship with Menard, whom he interviewed several times. “His one-liners were especially great,” says Tisserand. “When I interviewed him in front of a crowd at this year’s [New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival], he played me like a fish on a line. Just messed with me the whole time. It was great. I felt so lucky to be there.” Greely says Menard’s ribbing was never mean spirited and always served their friendship. “He would give you a sincere compliment, after all the joshing and jokes and the shouting he’d tell you something that really meant a lot in encouraging terms,” says Greely. “One time I sang a song, one of his waltzes, and he later told me I was the first person who ever got all his words right … Then after the Grammys he gave me a poster from the event and wrote on there that I couldn’t have done better.” That was the last time Greely would see Menard face to face. Despite his looming presence in Cajun music, Menard’s influence is hard to pin down. His guitar playing style — which incorporated strong upstrokes beside the traditional downstroke — certainly still reverberates through many genres of music from the Acadiana region. “His guitar was strong and steady,” says Tisserand. “It wasn’t like he was playing jazz solos that you could point to and say ‘that’s a D.L. lick.’ His playing was just steady and deep, and I definitely hear that same style of Cajun rhythm guitar in the music of artists like, say, Christine Balfa.” Though his guitar style carries on, there doesn’t really exist another artist that mixes Cajun and hard core country like Menard. “Really, there is no one living now who is writing that many solid Cajun songs,” says Greely. “I am not a songwriter like that even though I’ve written a lot of songs. He had success after success, in terms of quality.” Luckily, unlike so many other obscure Cajun geniuses, Menard was revered while he walked the Earth and is in little danger of being forgotten now that he’s gone home. “I think he did get the credit he deserved and I am very happy about that!” says Greely. “He didn’t get as much money as he should have made, but he was honored by his country as one of the foremost exporters of this culture’s music.”


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les personnes

catch her if you can The need for speed sprouted in Lafayette race car driver Sarah Montgomery at an early age By William Kalec | Portrait by romero & Romero

In addition to being an exceptional racer, Montgomery is also an accomplished clarinetist. She’s performed in Carnegie Hall and remains one of the youngest members of the Acadiana Wind Symphony Orchestra. Â

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With her hands placed at

10 and 2 on the steering wheel, an anxious fire ignites within Sarah Montgomery. The hum of idle horsepower rattles throughout the frame of the vehicle and when the flag drops, it becomes unbridled. The intensity forever emblazoned across the face of this 23-year-old freckled redhead is hidden behind a helmet and shield, providing temporary anonymity the obvious outlier relishes. Out here on the track, she’s not different, she’s not a trendsetter, and she’s not “a story.” She’s just a racer. Enduring a ruthless test that is equal parts mental and physical, Montgomery straddles the line between speed and control like one of the Flying Wallenda circus performers, while sweat pours at Patrick Ewing levels. A long left. A tight right. A slight brake then punch of the gas. She’s in complete control of this savage motorized ballet, maneuvering her car like a Tetris piece…if Tetris pieces zoomed in excess of 140 miles per hour, that is. Best of all, two years from now, Montgomery — the lone “Cajun Queen of Cars” — will finally be able to rent one from Hertz or Enterprise without a co-signer. “I don’t really look at it like that, look at everything I’ve done,” Montgomery says. “I’ve always looked forward. I appreciate the things my team has accomplished in racing, and I’m proud of those accomplishments. But I’m always looking for, ‘What’s next?’ It’s just the way I see racing, just to push forward and go faster.” Which is why this summer seemed endless — and not in the cool 1970s surfer movie kind of way. In mid-May — during the infancy of her first season racing the Pirelli World Challenge Series for Shea Racing

— Montgomery rolled her car several times in Turn 2 at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario. The Lafayette native was examined on-site before being transported to a local medical facility for further observation. Montgomery doesn’t remember much from the accident, but media reports claim her car flipped eight times. Montgomery suffered a concussion and a few broken ribs — enough to end her 2017 race season prematurely. When asked about the crash, the usually loquacious Montgomery is at a loss for words…whether organically or intentionally. Either way, her social media accounts provide the most insight into her current state, the most enlightening posts authored on July 13 and August 16, respectively, which read “I’ll be back in the cockpit soon,” and “God has a plan.” “It’s not so much the rehab that’s the issue, it’s finding the sponsorships,” Montgomery says. “That’s really the main focus, not if I can race. There’s no question about that. I’ve been racing my whole life.” This never-before-seen (Montgomery is the only female professional race car driver in Louisiana, after all) love affair between little girl and loud engines materialized when Montgomery was 10 years old. Her parents took her to an Indy Car race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. In the field that day was Danica Patrick — the most successful woman in open-wheel racing. Added on top of that inspiration was the sensory overload attached to the event — the noise, the smell of burnt rubber and spent fuel, the flash of color racing across impressionable eyes. Montgomery was hooked. “Just seeing someone do that, my instinct was, ‘I want to do that, too!’” Montgomery says.

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Unlike traditional sports like baseball, football and basketball, car racing doesn’t have an organic or established path to professional stardom. There’s no high school auto racing teams, no AAU summer circuits. So Montgomery and her family did their homework and got their then-little girl into the regional go-kart dirt oval track scene at age 13. We’re talking tracks hidden amongst myriad backroads, places GPS still hasn’t found. The crowds were minimal. The conditions were Spartan. The grind for Montgomery’s parents — spending free time hopping from race to race — was beyond real, but the passion Montgomery exuded was genuine. “Being out there just felt right to me,” Montgomery says. “This is where I belong. This is what I’m meant to do. And the years you spend doing that, where there’s not a lot of glory and there’s not a lot of attention on you, will test if you really want to race. And I really wanted to race. I didn’t stop.” While majoring in marketing at University of Louisiana at Lafayette (a degree that’s come in extremely handy as she essentially sells her merits to potential sponsors) Montgomery raced on weekends and between semesters. After a few years spent dominating the Specs Miata racing circuit, Montgomery joined ALARA Racing in 2015 and drove the Lemons of Love/Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission car in the Pro Racing Battery Tender MX-5 Cup — a league with tour stops across North America. Montgomery’s driving prowess and ability to attract eyeballs caught the attention of Shea Racing earlier this year, as they added the up-and-comer to their Pirelli World Challenge Series lineup, specifically racing in the TCA class.  No matter what or where Montgomery has raced, the fact that she’s a girl in a guy’s world is always a topic of conversation — a conversation she doesn’t duck, but embraces. Montgomery wants to be a role model, wants to blaze a path for followers and — as she so often hashtags on her Twitter account — wants others to know it’s OK to #drivelikeagirl. “It’s not too much,” Montgomery says of attention usually being the only female on the track attracts. “It’s not a burden. It never has been. If someone looks at me as an example, then that’s just an honor.”

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en français, s’il vous plaît

les ailes audessus de l’acadiana par david cheramie

En passant par l’aéroport international de la NouvelleOrléans, nommé pour son résident le plus connu, Louis Armstrong, nos visiteurs arrivant en Acadiana sont en droit d’être confus par son code AITA, ces trois lettres qui désignent les aéroports, MSY en l’occurrence. Si les amateurs de trivia louisianais savent que ces initiales représentent Moisant Stock Yards, les parcs à bétails de Moisant, l’identité de ce monsieur reste inconnue pour la plupart. On peut croire qu’il était le propriétaire d’un vaste terrain servant autrefois à entreposer les vaches, mais John Moisant était au fait un des pionniers de l’aviation. Au début du XXe siècle, il a popularisé la montée des « barnstormers », ces acrobates aériens qui captivaient l’imagination du public avec leurs exploits. Il était le premier aviateur à survoler, avec un passager, une ville, Paris, et la Manche et ce en 1910, à peine six ans après le vol des frères Wright. Un peu plus tard cette même année, il s’est tué dans un accident d’avion dans un champ pas loin de l’actuel aéroport qui honore sa mémoire sur les étiquettes de bagage. Il a mis la barre haute pour ceux qui allaient le suivre dans la folle histoire de l’aviation chez nous. Si on veut approfondir ses connaissances du développement de l’aviation en Acadiana, un arrêt à Patterson dans une bâtisse au nom cocasse, le musée Wedell-Williams de l’aviation

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et des scieries de cipre, est de rigueur. Il semblerait que la Louisiane ait le chic pour joindre deux choses à première vue étrangères l’une à l’autre, mais ce mélange s’explique facilement. Jimmy Wedell était un jeune homme pressé, amoureux de vitesse. D’abord mécanicien automobile, il a vite appris à construire et à piloter ses propres avions. Il a voulu être pilote pendant la Première Guerre Mondiale, mais on l’a refusé à cause de la perte d’un œil dans un accident de moto. Néanmoins, il a pu acquérir l’expérience nécessaire pour que l’Armée le prenne comme instructeur. Le fait d’être borgne n’était pas une entrave à sa carrière. En 1933, il détenait le record de vitesse en avion avec un vol à plus de 300 miles à l’heure. Il a attiré l’attention du millionnaire Harry P. Williams, dont la famille avait fait fortune dans le pétrole, le sucre et, vous l’avez peut-être deviné, la récolte de cipre. Avec l’expertise de Wedell et l’argent de Williams, ils ont formé le Wedell-Williams Air Service qui connaissait un grand succès. Malheureusement, la tragédie a encore frappé quand ils ont été

acadiana profile october/november 2017

tués dans des accidents séparés, en 1934 et 1936, mettant fin à cette entreprise. Récemment les électeurs de Lafayette ont approuvé une taxe temporaire pour financer la construction d’un nouveau terminal à l’aéroport Lafayette Regional, confirmant l’importance ils accordent à l’aviation. Avant la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale, son site actuel était un champ ouvert qui permettait les décollages et atterrissages dans n’importe quelle direction. Pendant la guerre, il servait à former les pilotes du Corps aérien de l’Armée en utilisant des PT19 Fairchild. Un de ces jeunes formateurs était un certain Roger Larrivée. Il n’était pas originaire d’Acadiana, mais il s’est marié avec une Mouton après avoir vu sa photo dans la vitrine d’un studio de photographie. Le couple a vécu un peu partout à cause de sa carrière de pilote. Il a même été le pilote de deux présidents américains, Kennedy et Nixon, sur Air Force One. Une fois la guerre terminée, l’aéroport est retourné à la vie civile et sa transformation vers le présent a commencé.

John B. Moisant et sa chatte Mademoiselle Fifi qui a assisté au premier vol avec passager audessus de la Manche le 23 août 1910.

Lorsqu’on parle de l’aviation à Lafayette, le nom de Paul Fournet est inévitable. Comme Moisant, Wedell et Williams, il a eu un accident d’avion, mais il l’y a survécu. Néanmoins, il n’a plus jamais marché. Comme Wedell et son seul œil, cet obstacle ne l’a pas empêché de fonder sa propre compagnie, dont le logo était un pilote assis dans un fauteuil roulant ailé. Fournet Air Services assurait les opérations de l’aéroport desservant surtout l’industrie pétrolière dans le golfe. À son apogée, il employait 132 personnes. En 2014, une plaque était posée à l’entrée de l’aéroport, désignant l’endroit « Aérodrome Paul-Fournet ». Comme les autres aviateurs qui l’ont précédé, il a surmonté les épreuves pour aller plus haut et plus loin.

For an English translation, visit acadianaprofile.com.


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Acadiana Profile October-November 2017  

Acadiana Profile October-November 2017