Out to Lunch Acadiana

Wednesdays at Noon & Saturdays at 5:00 PM
  • Hosted by Christiaan Mader

Out to Lunch Acadiana finds editor of nonprofit news outlet The Current, Christiaan Mader conducting business Acadiana style over lunch. Each week Christiaan invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join him. Beyond the foundations of Acadiana's business economy - oil, cuisine, music, there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small business, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana Business Community.

Christiaan Mader is the founder and editor of The Current, Lafayette's first and only nonprofit news organization. An award-winning investigative and culture journalist, Christiaan’s work as a writer and reporter has appeared in The New York Times, Vice, Offbeat, Gambit, and The Advocate.

Out to Lunch Louisiana: April 1, 2020

3 hours ago

  Join Out to Lunch Acadiana host, Christiaan Mader, along with hosts from Baton Rouge and New Orleans as they discuss issues the state faces during this health and economic crisis due to COVID-19.  

Out to Lunch Louisiana: March 25, 2020

Mar 25, 2020

Join Out to Lunch Acadiana host, Christiaan Mader, along with hosts from Baton Rouge and New Orleans as they discuss issues the state faces during this health and economic crisis due to COVID-19.  

Out to Lunch: March 18, 2020

Mar 18, 2020

Normally on Out to Lunch we’re talking about for-profit businesses. But here in Acadiana – maybe more than anywhere else in the country – there are organisations and people dedicated to making a difference rather than a profit. On this edition of Out to Lunch Christiaan Mader is talking with folks who run nonprofit organizations that fill an important gap in community services, saving birds and saving schools.

Even if your heart’s in the right place, you still need to be able to find your wallet. Lafayette is not necessarily an easy place to raise money. People are generous here, no doubt about that, southern hospitality is certainly a local specialty. But people around here value independence and self-determination. Plus, they like a business idea to make business sense, which means they ought to make money and survive on their own.

That presents a challenge to nonprofits large and small. How do you make big impact on a lean budget? How do you build for the long term when all the money you get goes to the important and expensive work that you’re doing now.

Abi Falgout is the Executive Director the Lafayette Education Foundation. For close to 30 years, L-E-F has filled funding gaps for Lafayette’s schools and educators. The foundation is primarily a granting organization, with a tiny staff, and is best known for the annual Teacher Awards, a glitzy gala that celebrates the best teachers in Lafayette Parish. Abi took over as Executive Director in 2019. She’s also an entrepreneur who’s worked in marketing, real estate and hospitality.

Letitia Labbie runs a wildlife rehabilitation center out of her house in Youngsville. Letitia founded her tiny but effective nonprofit, Acadiana Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, in 1998. AWER has taken in more than 6,000 birds and small animals over the years, which she treats at often enormous cost, and often entirely on her own. Letitia is currently raising money to establish a permanent treatment center that’s not her house.

Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded over lunch at The French Press in Lafayette. Photos by Travis Gauthier.

For more conversation over lunch about Acadiana education, check this out.

Out to Lunch: March 11, 2020

Mar 11, 2020

If you’re in the music business and you can get a dollar for every time somebody says “The music business is changing,” you’ll probably make more money than however you’re making it now in the music business.  Yes, Acadiana is rich with music, but music makes hardly anybody rich. And getting rich is besides the point. For the most part, the people who play the music that makes South Louisiana famous do so part-time. That includes all those Grammy winners you hear about. 

Sure enough people get by. There’s never a shortage of gigs. And playing Zydeco or Cajun music can be good supplemental income. Plus it’s a great time.  But long term, it’s tricky if not impossible to build a safety net or nest egg that most American workers accumulate over their careers.  Musicians can’t really retire — not that they would want to — and that means major needs can go unfunded and unmet in the twilight of most careers.  Christiaan Mader’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana are both dealing with this problem, albeit from different angles. 

Major Handy is by all accounts a  living legend in blues and Zydeco. A world traveler. A raconteur, and an auto mechanic. At 72 years old, he’s deeply familiar with the challenges of being a working musician past the traditional retiring age. But he’s a consummate pro and fighter. He suffered a stroke at the beginning of 2020 but is already back on the beat, set to play some gigs in France later this year. Major is also involved with the Music Makers Relief Foundation, a nonprofit that supports and documents traditional musicians in the Deep South.

John Williams is president of Love of People, a nonprofit started by his family in the 1990s, but is best known for Blue Monday, a program he launched in 2016. Blue Monday raises money to help aging musicians pay for medical care and living expenses through an monthly concert and dinner series staged at Rock and Bowl here in Downtown Lafayette. Love of People runs several different initiatives including Musicians Etude, We Care and the Lending Closet, which compensates local musicians who donate their talents to benefits with credits to buy goods and professional services. John is also Executive Director of the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation.

Out to Lunch: March 4, 2020

Mar 4, 2020

Maybe you think Boudoir Photography – intimate, seductive portraits taken for romance or personal empowerment – is something that happens in other places. After all, we’re pretty conservative around here. Aren’t we? Well, apparently not.

April Courville got a masters in marketing in college and wound up in Minnesota where she fell into boudoir photography. When April moved back to Lafayette she  built a big enough book of business to strike out on her own full time with a boudoir photography business called A. Danette Photography.

Here’s a photography cliche. Why hire a photographer when a phone can do the job? That was already the conventional wisdom 13 years ago when the iPhone debuted. Since then, the lenses have only gotten better and people have started making millions taking pictures of their lives on Instagram. But the professional photographer never went obsolete as predicted.

That’s because there are plenty of circumstances that require a professional touch — weddings, portraits, magazine features and commercial photography that requires special skills to make the ordinary look extraordinary. That doesn’t mean making a living behind the camera isn’t a hustle. Success in photography takes relentless self-promotion, creativity and maybe a little luck.

Paul Kieu detoured into photography while on a path toward law school. Taking pictures was a hobby until he figured out he could get paid to do it and he stuck with it after graduating from UL with a degree in political science. He worked as a photojournalist for the Daily Advertiser for several years until leaving to work on his own. Taking a particular interest in culture, Paul’s work captures Acadiana’s boucheries, festivals and celebrations in vivid detail. You can find his photos in several local and regional publications.

Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded over lunch at The French Press in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Travis Gauthier.