28 minutes | Jun 5, 2023
The Silver Tsunami
Americans are going to get a lot older over the next 30 years. That’s not just an obvious statement about aging: the share of senior citizens in our country is projected to get much, much bigger. Researchers think seniors will account for 25% of Americans by 2060. It’s a population shift often referred to as the Silver Tsunami. The impact of that change is on us now. And it’s putting a lot of pressure on the healthcare industry. There’s greater demand for care-giving services and treatment for chronic disease, and it’s getting harder to fill it. Caring for people is a stressful business, but a rewarding one. Susan Amos has worked in healthcare and senior care since the 1990s. Today, she’s the Chief Marketing Officer for Senior Helpers, a senior care-giving franchise she bought in 2017 and then sold in 2023. But not before growing the company rapidly with her business partner. Her Senior Helpers unit doubled its business in its first year alone. Today it cares for 115 people with a long waiting list. Susan also serves on the board of the Lafayette Council on Aging and on the advisory board of the Alzheimer’s Association. Lack of access to care is a big hurdle, particularly in rural communities. In St. Landry Parish, for instance, there isn’t a higher rate of cancer diagnoses. But there is a higher rate of cancer deaths. That’s in part because St. Landry is what researchers call an underserved market. The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer opened a location in Opelousas to close that gap. Mary Bird is a well known name in cancer care. It provides a wide scope of services with locations across South Louisiana and in Mississippi. Jodi Conachen is Mary Bird’s Chief Operating Officer. Jodi comes from the marketing world. She’s worked for Community Coffee, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and Women’s Hospital. She joined Mary Bird in 2019 as VP of marketing and became COO in 2023. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | May 23, 2023
Oysters & Cigars
There’s plenty of demand for the good life. Who doesn’t want a taste of luxury or indulgence? And certainly, we indulge a lot in South Louisiana. "You only live once" could be easily the state motto. Why not? We’re blessed to have plenty of good life to indulge here. So much so, that we yearn for it when we’re gone. For all those expats out there — and there are plenty — a taste of home means seafood. And it doesn’t get much more indulgent than oysters. Oysters The dirty secret of oysters, Boyer Derise likes to say, is that you’re selling butter. And Boyer is selling butter nationwide. The Bayou Carlin Oyster Company ships flash frozen Louisiana Oysters around the country and sells locally in grocery stores. The kits come in a variety of flavors: Garlic Parmesan, Andouille Cream Cheese, Roasted Jalapeno Cheddar and more. It all began as an e-commerce concept for Boyer to add on to his prepped food brand Good Eats Kitchen. But he quickly found the good money was in wholesale, which makes up more than 90% of his business. In 2022, he closed Good Eats to devote more time to Bayou Carlin. Cigars After you’ve put away some grilled oysters and a couple of beers, it’s time to kick back and relax. For a lot of folks, a fine cigar is the perfect after-dinner treat. Leona Bruno got a taste for cigars when she joined a motorcycle club. One night, she wanted a cigar to unwind, but didn’t feel like heading to a cigar lounge. A business idea was born: The Bearded Lady Mobile Cigar Wagon. The cigar wagon is a mobile cigar experience. Like a mobile bartending service, it offers packages of cigar lines that can be paired with events — weddings, parties, company functions, that sort of thing. Leona is self-taught about cigars, and coaches clients about the experience they want. Packages include a pop-up cigar lounge with cut and light services. All of them come with a selection of high quality cigars. The most popular? The Cuban Monte Cristo. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | May 16, 2023
You Need A Planet
Over the last few decades, we’ve come to understand the role of private enterprise differently. There’s a call to be corporate citizens, and responsible ones at that. Responsibility can be good business. It’s part of why big energy companies have begun to shift their marketing and their products toward sustainability. Think of it this way: You need a planet to run a business on. We’ve even put a number on it because…capitalism. The World Bank estimated in 2011 that the combined value of the Earth’s natural resources — forests, rivers, wetlands, wildlands, farms and more — at $44 trillion. So it can’t hurt to pay attention to how your business impacts the environment and those resources. That shift has been underway for years at the major corporate level, but Julie Esta is leading a much smaller operation in that direction as Sustainability Manager at Industrial Safety Solutions, a firm that helps oil and gas companies comply with environmental and safety requirements. We talked in 2021 with Founder & President Ray Flores and Julie joined the company in 2023 after working in business development for a digital literacy company and creating her own line of healthy seasonings. Her job is to help ISS develop techniques that can reduce their own carbon footprint and that can be marketed to other companies. Julie grew up in Sunset and now lives in Scott. Caroline Jurisich has made a career of helping universities be more inclusive, particularly of people with disabilities. From 2017 to 2023, Caroline directed UL’s LIFE program, which offers education for young adults with cognitive disabilities. She’s since moved on from that job to launch the Quad, an enrichment center serving the same community. The Quad offers counseling, speech therapy, hands-on community service projects, a coffee bar, a cooking lab and a clubhouse. It’s a membership-based program that puts many of the most-needed services under one roof. Caroline holds a doctor of education from UL and was recognized by the university as a Champion of Diversity in 2020. Caroline grew up in Bossier City and now lives in Lafayette. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | May 9, 2023
Foundations: Crowdfunding Community
What does it mean to invest in a community? Big economic development projects are usually sold that way. And if you’re cynical, it can sound a bit like hot air. If a big company puts a new factory in your town, it might bring jobs, but the investment is for the company and its shareholders. Okay, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s capitalism. But community investment has long been the purview of philanthropy. The dawn of big philanthropy was tied to robber barons. Names like Carnegie and Rockefeller are synonymous with both greed and generosity. Big name donors are still the most visible philanthropists, but more and more communities are investing in themselves, pooling contributions from donors big and small into community foundations. Today there are more than 900 community foundations operating in the U.S., pumping billions of dollars each year into their communities. The third largest community foundation in Louisiana is housed in Lafayette — the Community Foundation of Acadiana. In 2022, the foundation made over $16 million in gifts to causes in its eight-parish region. The foundation was started in 2000 and Missy Bienvenu Andrade is CFA’s second ever director. She took the helm in 2022. Missy grew up in Lafayette and spent 10 years as dance choreographer before starting her professional life as a pharmaceutical rep and later moving into community work with a job at One Acadiana, the regional chamber of commerce. She moved into nonprofits with jobs at the Boys and Girls Club, becoming Chief Impact Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Louisiana in 2021. The Community of Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, which covers metro Lake Charles, was founded in 2008. Today, it’s helmed by Sara Mcleod Judson. The Foundation has become an important part of recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, both as a channel for local dollars and for national philanthropy. David Philo, Yahoo’s co-founder, gifted $2.5 million to the foundation to help rebuild Lake Charles. That money is the cornerstone of a 50-year master plan. Sara is a Lake Charles native and spent time working in public relations before moving into the nonprofit space. She’s been the director of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana since 2013. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You ca find photos from this show by Astor Morgan. at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Apr 17, 2023
The Acadiana Self-Driving Vehicle
Americans spend about 300 hours a year in a car. That translates roughly into about 14,263 miles annually, at least according to a few minutes of Google research. Take the specifics with a grain of salt but nobody would would dispute that we do a lot of driving. Yes, traffic is bad in Lafayette, but mostly compared to how we think we ought to be living in a medium-sized town, not necessarily by a universal standard. By comparison, picture Atlanta during rush hour, or Los Angeles any time. But, nonetheless there’s no denying traffic, however long you spend in it, can feel like time wasted. And that’s the appeal of the self-driving car. To some extent, it feels like we’ve been on the edge of a breakthrough with that technology for a decade. But here we are, driving our cars with our hands like Neanderthals well into the 21st century. Colin Grussing hasn’t given up on the idea. Far from it. In fact, he’s busy "planting flags" as he likes to say, with his latest venture: aftermarket self-driving devices he calls "Palanquins" — named after the mode of royal transportation in the ancient world. Colin uses an open-source technology to retrofit self-driving devices for road trip driving. (This stuff isn’t ready for your trip to the grocery store.) Colin used open source tech to equip three RVs and a Toyota minivan. He hopes to break into the trucking market and has concepts for another 50 applications of self-driving technology. And no, he doesn't live in Silicon Valley, Colin grew up and lives right here, in Lafayette. But he's no stranger to epic business ventures. He first made a name for himself with 52businesses, a project in which he started a new business a week for a year. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Apr 10, 2023
A Healthier You
The more we learn about the human body, the less we seem to actually know. Medicine is always playing catch up with its own science. And more and more, the industry is moving toward individualized care, armed with metrics that help us stay on top of our wellness. What if we could catch a problem before it happens? If that’s the goal, we’re not talking about preventative medicine; we’re talking about predictive medicine. Marc Landry launched Healthy Heart Clinics and Cardio Care after he lost his parents. He wanted to create a company that could help patients manage their own cardio care and make sure that it fit what they needed. Healthy Heart Clinics is a primary care practice. It offers cardiac care, wellness visits, health coaching and remote health monitoring. And Cardio Care is an online management tool for patients with chronic illnesses. It links technology and remote care to help patients keep track of their wellness between visits. The program comes with software that helps patients track their biometrics and prescription records. Marc is originally from Scott and worked for 30 years in Dallas. He moved back to Lafayette in 2018, founding Healthy Heart in 2020. Sometimes diseases are written right into our genetic code. Congenital defects can hide out for decades before becoming serious ailments. The early signs might be there, but with more than 7,000 rare genetic disorders known to medicine, it’s tough for even the best doctors to keep track of. Enter, ThinkGenetic. Dawn Laney is the founder and chief genetic officer for Think Genetic, based in Lafayette. The idea for the company came from a genetic illness identified in Dawn’s own family. Her dad and aunt both suffered from non-fatal aneurysms. Dawn went looking for a genetic link and found an opportunity. Dawn and her father founded ThinkGenetic in 2014. The company offers two basic products. They help researchers locate people at risk for rare conditions for clinical trials. And they help physicians narrow down options to refer patients for more testing or diagnosis. The goal is to cut down the amount of time it takes to achieve a diagnosis. The company also connects patients with rare diseases with advocacy groups and with genetic counselors. Dawn is a genetic counselor herself. She's Director of the Genetic Clinical Trials Center at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Giada Morgan at itsacadian.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Mar 21, 2023
Dancing is a big part of our Acadiana culture. People in Acadiana dance like nobody’s watching; specially when everybody’s watching. But dance can be more than an expression of tradition or culture. It can be therapeutic. You can look at a couple dancing as a microcosm of their relationship or you can look at yourself dancing as a way of getting in tune with your body. “Whatever the issues are in a relationship, they’re gonna come up through dance,” says Caroline Helm. Caroline Helm Huval is a social worker and she applies that philosophy in her practice both as a counselor and as a dance instructor at her business, Cajun Dance Therapy. She runs couples therapy sessions that explore relationship dynamics through dance. Couples learn to 2-step, waltz, jitterbug and zydeco. But what couples really learn is how to relate to each other. Caroline grew up in Lafayette. So we know she’s a fabulous dancer! As we observed earlier, dancing isn’t just therapy for you and your partner, it can be a way of getting in tune with yourself. Carol Petijean discovered belly dancing 20 years ago and found it could be a powerful way to escape stress. For the last fifteen years, she’s taught belly dancing at Oasis Belly Dance in Lafayette. The school specializes in Polynesian and Middle Eastern styles, but she also teaches American Cabaret, Egyptian Raqs Sharki and improvisational tribal styles too. Belly dancing is inclusive, Carol says. Anyone can do it and it offers everyone a chance to just let go. Oasis has about 90 dancers and they perform often at nonprofit events around town. Carol was born in Rayne. And she also works as a bank fraud investigator. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
31 minutes | Mar 14, 2023
Acadiana is a culture obsessed with itself. That’s not unique, really. Regional pride is a thing in most places, wherever you go. A strong cultural identity — or more precisely, identities — can create a powerful market for artists who can tap into it. The ability to sell on social media or through e-commerce has only extended that reach. And that goes for pretty much any medium. There’s the more classical approach of an artist, like Herb Roe. Herb is best known for his rich, textured and detailed depictions of pastoral Acadiana — scenes of country Mardi Gras, po-boy shops and boucheries. Herb Roe grew up in Ohio, where he hooked up with muralist Robert Dafford and landed in Lafayette. Herb painted murals for 10 years before settling into a studio in Freetown to focus on his own work under the business moniker, Chrome Sun. Since then, he’s built a career tapping into the local and national obsession with Acadiana. Acadiana’s cultural landscape is a fitting subject for oil painting — how about a chainsaw? That’s one way sculptor Kelly Guidry has cut his own path in the art world. Kelly is a mixed-media artist. He works in metal and wood, and works in conversation with modern and traditional tokens of local life. He collects his work under the business name Modern Primitive, a brand concept he came up with while working in advertising. Kelly left the ad business to go work full time as a sculptor. Today, he and his wife Robin work side by side to sell his work and others at a gallery in Breaux Bridge called the Pink Alligator. Kelly’s work is also sold online, by commission or at local festivals. Johanna Divine sits in for Christiaan Mader as host of this episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana, recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Mar 7, 2023
When you’re a designer, you’ve often got one customer: the one right in front of you. And you’ve got essentially one product: the one you’re making. With every job, you’re building both your reputation and your portfolio. But here’s the kicker. If you’re doing custom work, then your customer is also your boss. No pressure. But pressure — and lots of it — is how diamonds are made. Jewelry makers like Steve Credeur are tasked with making not just something beautiful for their customer-bosses, but something unique and precious too. But that’s the way Steve likes it. He takes pride in his company, Steve Charles Jewelers, being a small part of a family’s big story. It all starts with a one-on-one consultation. It’s a process so special, you’re going to need a referral. Steve doesn’t advertise his location. He takes appointments only. He tries to stay under the radar. Despite actively avoiding brand awareness, Steve has built a clientele of around over 5,000 customers nationwide. He was born and raised in Carencro and lives in Youngsville. You’ll have to make an appointment to find out the rest. Jewelry is just one kind of design of course. There are as many design jobs as there are industries and Maureen Dugas Foster has worked in a lot of them. She’s worked in project management, sales, and business development. She’s worked as an artist, in community engagement and as a teacher. Maureen's training is in architecture, she’s the owner of Dugas Foster Design, a side-hustle studio that specializes in residential additions and remodeling. The common thread in all of that is people and creativity. In 2016 Maureen founded Designing Women of Acadiana. It’s a civic group that serves as a gathering place for women who work in creative fields. They talk shop, go on architecture tours, host speakers and even have their own Mardi Gras walking krewe. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Feb 21, 2023
Good Clean Fun
How do you convince a customer to buy a service they don’t know they need? That’s often the steepest hill to climb for businesses that offer improvements on existing products. If solving a problem is the surest path to success, then satisfaction in the market can be a real hurdle. But if what you do works that much better than what’s available, you’re bound to blow the competition away…or maybe blast it away. Greg Free is in the media blasting business. His company, General Abrasives, is unique in the Acadiana market. You can find pressure washers and other surface cleaning companies, but Greg’s company uses dry ice. The technique is powerful. Dry ice leaves no water or chemicals behind, it kills bacteria and mold and can even deodorize smoke. It’s a faster, cleaner process than what’s typically available. Greg started the business after working in IT at casinos. And it's what he saw happening when people didn't walk out of the casino with a pocketful of winnings that sparked his interest in developing a better cleaning technique. It's a ghoulish origin story but a lesson that there's a business opportunity in almost every human activity, even a very sad one. Believe it or not, when Michelle Thomas-Parker launched SouthernMixx Bartending Services in 2018 there was a gap in the local party market: for mobile bartending. In a state known for partying, there were relatively few companies that offered full-service bartending that could flex to meet events, big and small. Michelle had spent 30 years in the hospitality industry and saw how a personal touch or a twist could make a difference. So when she saw an opening in the event market, she seized on it. SouthernMixx specializes in customizing bar service. Michelle and her team take the same level of care for weddings and backyard parties that you typically see with caterers. They design menus and specialty cocktails that enhance an event experience. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Feb 14, 2023
Best Stop Going Global
Let’s say you want to own a business, but you’re not sure what kind. A clever idea is probably a good place to start, but believe it or not you don’t have to have your own concept or business model to own your own. You could own a franchise. Franchises are everywhere in the American marketplace — think of ubiquitous fast food brands like McDonalds or Jimmy Johns. It’s a $500 billion industry representing 750,000 individual franchises. Owning a franchise solves a number of problems for entrepreneurs — they don’t have to worry about branding or recipes or product development. Franchisees buy a license — in essence — to sell a brand on their own terms. Burgers might be the most common kind of franchise, but it’s not the only way to go. If you live in Acadiana, you might want to own — a boudin franchise. Boudin is big business in this market. And as Acadiana grows, so too is its appetite for boudin and specialty meats. One of the very best known brands in the business is the Best Stop, a staple in Scott, Louisiana. But thanks to a new franchise, you don’t have to go to the Boudin capital to get your fix. Shaina Credeur and Danee Deville are the owners of a Best Stop franchise in Carencro and own the rights for locations in Lafayette. Shaina grew up in Broussard. She and her husband run a jewelry store and have a portfolio of real estate investments. So investing in Boudin was a natural fit. Danee didn’t have to buy into the Best Stop way of life — she was born into it. She is the oldest grandchild of the Best Stop’s founder. Robert Cormier. Growing up around sausage makers gave her the envie for owning a Best Stop of her own. When franchising became an option, she brought the idea to her friend Shaina and the two found themselves in hog heaven. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Feb 7, 2023
You Can't Take It With You
What’s the point of working yourself stiff if you can’t take it with you when you go? Younger folks in the American workforce get it. Maybe wealth and power aren’t what they’re cracked up to be if we’re all gonna give it up when we cross into the great beyond. If Baby Boomers were work-a-holics, and Gen-Ex’ers the slacker generation, then Millennials and the generations after them have become the work/life balance generations. And that can mean leaving the runaround of a steady job. Quitting can be rewarding: if it means spending more time with your family. Seth Coldren left his job offshore to spend more time with his three-year-old son and chart a new career in the arts with his wife Jana. In 2021, they launched Aaron Grey Co., a Louisiana themed custom engraving, woodwork and design brand. They built a shop in their backyard and packed it with woodworking equipment and a laser engraver. Jana makes the designs, while Seth churns out the products. And they can make just about anything out of wood, acrylic and leather, specializing in custom gifts. Their hottest seller is a handmade cocktail smoker made with wood chips from white oak barrels used to age Wildcat Brothers rum. One career change can be a big enough challenge for a family, what about two? Deanna Saizon left a career with a good company to pursue her passion for interior design. After 12 years at the Lemoine Company, she opened Saizon Designs in August 2021. That same year, her husband Alex lost his full-time job and turned to his thriving side-hustle for a new career. Alex had launched Sirop Trading Company in 2019, a brand for his homemade simple syrup. When it was just a part-time gig, he managed to get his syrup in 120 stores. So when Adam Smith’s invisible hand closed the door on his last job, it opened a window for entrepreneurship. Sirop Trading Company blew up. Today, Alex’s syrups are sold in 350 stores spread across California, Texas, Florida, Indiana and Louisiana including big name brands like Costco and Total Wines. Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Sunday’s Soda Fountain in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Jan 24, 2023
Can I Help You?
There’s a lot more to retail than selling something a customer wants. More and more, customers want experience. They want to feel like they’re buying into something — a lifestyle, an ethos, a trend. Smart retailers, of course, know their customers. Really smart retailers know their customers better than they know themselves. Curation, then, is the name of the name. Even with a treasure trove of marketing data available at your fingertips, selecting what you sell is still a challenge. That’s how local retailers hold their ground in the age of e-commerce: They know their customers better than anyone. Some are so good at it, they can game the system the other way around: selling their collections online. Charlotte Cryer has operated Caroline & Co. in Lafayette since 1997. The shop offers a wide variety of goods and gift ideas. Home decor and accessories, clothing, bath and beauty supplies and holiday specialties. Caroline & Co. has two locations now, with its flagship store in the River Ranch neighborhood. Charlotte has also found a market for her goods online. They offer complimentary gift-wrapping and can ship straight from the store to anywhere in the country. If you’re selling wedding dresses, curation is everything. Brides want to feel special on their wedding day, and they’ll pay handsomely for it. Gowns can cost $2,000 or more. It’s a lot to spend on something you’ll (theoretically) wear only once. Nicole Cline takes each sale one by one. Her shop Sposa Bella has one dressing room, and her brides come in by appointment only. That approach gives Nicole the time and space to attend to the details of what brides want. She does extensive interviews with her customers before they try anything on. From there, brides and their families are treated to a concierge experience complete with champagne and music. That level of care was missing when Nicole’s daughter got engaged and bought her wedding dress. When Nicole saw the opportunity to buy Sposa Bella, she seized the chance to fill that gap in the Lafayette bridal market. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Sunday’s Soda Fountain in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Jan 17, 2023
Swing Low Sweet Macaron
Variety is the spice of life. Right? Well, in Louisiana spice is the spice of life! Or maybe flavor. It’s beyond cliche that we like things spicy here. Although most cooks and chefs will tell you we like things well-seasoned. No surprise then, that seasoning is a big business in this area. There are no shortage of homegrown seasonings or seasoning companies. Every family has their own favorite blend. So why not have a blend you can make on your own — and make a buck off of? Brothers Troy and Zo Bolden are doing just that with their company Cajun Nation. Troy and Zo created the brand name in 2004 as an apparel company. When Zo’s wife needed to go on a low-sodium diet, they came up with another idea: a line of low-sodium, MSG free seasonings that pack all the flavor the gulf coast is known for. Cajun Nation took off. Today their products are found in major grocery and retail chains like Rouses, Albertsons and HEB in Texas. It’s still very much a family operation, and a Black-owned, veteran-owned business. We’re constantly putting on our own spin or spice on pretty much every food you can find here in Louisiana. It’s not just seafood that we like to be well-seasoned. What about — macarons? Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly. Candied Jalapeno. Smoked Pecan. These are hardly traditional French flavors. They’re the brainchild of Virginia St. Germain, better known to her family as Tut — and the owner of Tut’s Bakery. Virginia turned her passion for home-baking into a home business that specializes in made-from-scratch confections and baked goods. She makes her own yeast for sourdough bread, dough for seasonal pies, and fillings for those inventive, devilish macarons. Virginia is a psychiatric nurse by trade. She operates the bakery at home in New Iberia with help from her husband. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Sunday’s Soda Fountain in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Jan 10, 2023
Space, Parking Spaces and Living Spaces
Let’s talk about space. Not outer space — although we might get to that later — but the spaces we live and play. On Earth, it’s a limited resource. Which makes it ideal for a business venture. You might find yourself standing in front of a strip of vacant land and say to yourself, "How do I turn this into something that makes money?" Or you might say, "What if it was still…space?" In a nutshell, that’s what happened with Moncus Park — if you gloss over some classic Lafayette political purposes. But for our purposes it will do. Space (and parking spaces) It was 100 acres of paradise that Lafayette decided to preserve, rather than pave. And JP McFadyen currently serves as its Executive Director. JP knows a thing or two about spaces. It got his start in the aerospace industry and later owned a bakery. JP sold the bakery and took a job as the park’s operations manager. Moncus Park opened in January 2022. Living Spaces You may have heard the U.S. is in short supply of housing. Yes, we’ve got plenty of space between the waves of grain and the purple mountains majesty, but there’s still a dramatic need for new or updated homes in urban spaces. Tyren Morrison has made a business out of addressing that problem. His company, Equity Hub Construction, is part contractor, part developer and part title company. The stack of services helps Tyren easily rescue distressed houses and put them back into productive use as affordable homes. Tyren got into the work repairing homes in the Lake Charles area after Hurricane Laura, and saw an opportunity to put all the parts of remarketing homes under one roof. Tyren was born and raised in Lafayette, And got his start in the oil and gas industry. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Sunday's Soda Fountain in downtown Lafayette. You can see photos from this show by Photos by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27 minutes | Nov 21, 2022
There’s a lot of business that happens in your home. More and more, it’s become the center of commerce. And that’s not just because of big delivery services. It takes a lot of products to run a home. The essence of American consumerism is convenience. We’re all thrilled to spend a buck to do it the easy way. Think about it: When was the last time you changed your oil? Sure, you could do it. But that would take an hour. There are all kinds of chores we need to do and, like changing oil, forget to do. For example, changing air filters. That’s why Mitch Poche started Filter Genie. It’s a web-based subscription service that offers just two products: air filters and fridge filters. The service helps you figure out what kind of filter you need and puts you on a schedule so the filters show up when you need them. Mitch started the company after a long stint in the AC business. The brand is part of CIS Industries, a commercial HVAC company based in the New Orleans area. He and his business partner, his old boss at CIS, are focusing their growth strategy along the I-10 Corridor. As our population ages, the home is also becoming a growth sector in the health industry. Home health care services like Mel Pickney’s Heart of Gold Private Duty Nursing serve about 15 million patients each year — on 600 million patient visits. For Mel, though, the service is about a promise she made to her grandmother – care for others and never let them go neglected. Mel has a long background in healthcare. But she got her knack for private care looking after her grandmother and later her father, a Vietnam vet. Today, Mel’s Heart of Gold offers private nursing care, companionship services, post-natal care and post surgical care. Mel's Heart of Gold Private Duty Nursing employs 30 people to provide care at every duration: round the clock, overnight, long-term care and short-term care. Mel grew up in St. Martin Parish and at one time hosted a radio show as Mel the Diva. This episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Central Pizza in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
27 minutes | Nov 15, 2022
Acadiana Krishna Yoga
Yoga is crazy popular in the United States. And over the last decade, it’s only gotten more popular. In 2021, 34 million Americans took a yoga class. That’s up 15 million from a decade earlier. And the industry has adapted to Western exercise habits. It’s not a strictly spiritual practice here. It’s a way to build muscle tone and balance. It’s also a very competitive industry. Dozens of yoga studios have come and gone in Lafayette over the years. Toni Heinen spent much of the last decade as a Pilates and yoga instructor in other peoples’ studios. In 2019, after 14 years in the yoga biz, she bought her own studio: GoodWolf Yoga Studio. Since then, Toni has grown the operation with a lot of love and community support. Today the operation employs 27 people to run classes from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Good Wolf runs classes for all experience levels, including hot yoga, power yoga and Tabata yoga, their most popular course. Toni is a certified yoga and Barre instructor, co-owns Ami’s Kitchen and is the creator of “Booty Ballet.” Yoga’s popularity in Acadiana shouldn’t be all that surprising. Indian culture has had a presence here for decades. Lafayette has long attracted students and professionals from the Indian subcontinent. Folks like Jay Patel, who came to Lafayette in 1978 to work as a mechanical engineer. Jay helped anchor a growing presence of Hindu people by founding the Acadiana India Association in 1991. In 2013, Jay stepped away from AIA - to build a temple. Jay comes from a family of temple builders. His father and uncle each built one. And for years, the Acadiana Hindu community gathered without one. In 2019, Jay opened the Sri Krushna Balaji Mandir in Lafayette. "Mandir" is the Hindi word for temple. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
28 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
Brown Cotton Wings
The goal of pretty much every business is to grow. It’s the beating heart of capitalism. But scaling up is complicated. The bigger you get, the bigger the problems get. And it’s not a 1:1 ratio. The learning curve can get steeper and steeper as your operation adds new locations, new employees, new revenue streams. Growing pains, however, are a good problem to have. Yes, the struggle is real. But if you’re doing it right, so is the payoff. Corey McCoy and his partners at Kitchen on Klinton learned on the job quickly as their operation took flight. In 2016, they started selling chicken wings out of their house on Clinton Street in Lafayette to pay the party bills. By 2018, they built a food truck welded to a flatbed trailer. Later that year, they were in a brick and mortar shop near UL. Then came two more locations that later closed. Kitchen on Klinton is again poised for growth and has been well recognized for its success. Corey and his partners received the Young Entrepreneurial Business of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. If you’re in agriculture, business is always growing. Jerry Hale has spent his life farming. He grew up on a 7,000-acre cotton farm in Rayville, Louisiana. Growing up, his family farmed white cotton. King Cotton. The prime crop of the South. And then, Jerry discovered brown cotton. Acadian Brown Cotton is an heirloom seed, believed to be the first cotton found in Louisiana. The Acadians used it for their textiles when they arrived here. And sort of forgot about. Acadian Brown Cotton produces a shorter fiber than conventional cotton, but it’s a more sustainable product. Brown cotton plants can bloom over and over, while white cotton plants are discarded once they’re picked. Jerry took two cups of brown cotton seeds from a friend and kicked off a burgeoning eco-tourism business. Today, he grows around 2 acres of brown cotton and represents around 300 growers. In 2021, he represented Acadiana at the Selvedge World fair of Textiles in London. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadina.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
30 minutes | Oct 25, 2022
"Be yourself." It’s what we’re all taught from an early age. When you get a little older you find out the world around you doesn’t make that so easy. Taboos are stubborn. And even as we get more comfortable talking about sensitive or personal subjects — it can feel daunting to open up. That’s where the idea of “safe space” comes in. It’s maybe a more common practice in psychotherapy and counseling. But it’s emerging in public spaces too. And just in time. The world isn’t getting less complicated. And it can be confusing, particularly around questions of sex, sexuality and sexual health. All the more so for kids. In Lafayette, there’s a safe space to get answers about all that. It’s called Safe Havynn. Courtney Celestine is Safe Havynn’s marketing director. The idea behind Safe Havynn is to give teens a place where they can talk about sex. The bedrock principle here is whether we like it or not, kids are learning about sex and acting on it. The data doesn’t lie. Louisiana ranks among the highest in the nation for rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It’s not easy to talk about sex, especially with adults. So Safe Havynn creates a space where kids can ask questions without the weight of moralizing. Safe Havynn is a nonprofit and is funded by grants. Outside of its space in Downtown Lafayette, Safe Havynn works with schools and local courts. It’s still hard to talk about sex. And it’s still very hard to talk about mental health. We’re getting better at it, but we’ve got a long way to go. Far too many people struggling with debilitating mental health problems often wind up isolated. Here’s the problem: Isolation is about the worst thing that can happen to them. Enter Focus Clubhouse. The program at Focus Clubhouse creates a working environment for folks with mental health problems to develop real-world skills and stay connected. Clubhouse members operate the clubhouse itself, helping with everything from cooking and cleaning, to outreach, intake and fundraising. The program is totally voluntary. It gives people a place to go, where they can be understood — and valued. Lafayette’s Focus Clubhouse chapter was started by Clarice Gallegos and her son Brian. Brian stabilized from a life in and out of homelessness by attending a Clubhouse in Florida. The Lafayette chapter has grown since 2020 to include 55 members. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
29 minutes | Oct 17, 2022
Sweet but Unconventional
It’s beyond a cliche at this point to say that folks in Acadiana have a special relationship with food. Whole towns are defined by their food festivals. You’ve got your gumbo festival, your rice festival, your sweet potato festival, your crawfish festival - in the case of Delcambre - your shrimp and petroleum festival. Of course, that’s thinking about food as culture or as commerce. More essentially: Food is nourishment. You can’t live without…and some might say you can’t really live with it. Think about that the next time you say you’re dying for a link of boudin. Another way of thinking about it: Food is medicine. It’s how we fuel and regulate our bodies. A good diet impacts how we think and how we feel. Eating right is the best way to live right. Daphne Olivier is a dietitian who bills herself as The Unconventional Dietitian. Her practice takes a “food as medicine” approach to helping folks deal with chronic conditions and diseases: diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity and more. She has a tailored approach, helping clients rethink what they eat and its role in their lifestyle. Daphne grew up in Denham Springs began her career as an independent dietitian in 2011 after moving to Lafayette. Food can be spiritual medicine too. Otherwise they wouldn’t call it soul food. Sometimes you run across a bite so good, you might say it was heaven sent — or divine. Lynore Harding calls her custom bakery Divine Cakes and Sweets Boutique because it was divinely inspired. Lynore has grown her business from her kitchen as home baker, teaching herself the art of specialty cakes and decoration. Since 2019, she’s built Divine Cakes through word of mouth-watering takes on southern specialties like sweet dough pies and tea cakes. Divine Cakes is mission-oriented. Lynore gets help from her son, who is disabled and her long-term plan for the company is to open it up as a community bakery, where people with disabilities can learn to bake and sell their goods. Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. You can find photos from this show by Astor Morgan at itsacadiana.com. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.