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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: January 13, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

Maybe you could boil the tourism industry down into two segments: where you’re going and how you get there — the journey and the destination. Between the two of them you have the “why question,” as in, “Why bother leaving your house?”

For Louisiana and Acadiana particular, the allure to travelers is an exotic land within reach. The region is unique. And if you land in the right spot — a coffee shop with a French table perhaps — you can be transported without going too far.

It isn’t as organic as it seems. It’s taken years to claw back this area’s French language from the brink of oblivion, and that work is far from done. If it disappears, that’s one less reason for folks to travel here.

Francophone

Will McGrew has taken up the baton of decades of preservation work but with a for-profit twist. His company Tele-Louisiane is part production house, part content platform. It creates and distributes French-language content from across the state and aims to grow the broader cultural economy in Louisiana French dialects. In a sense, he’s seeding the market. Both creating and meeting a demand for Louisiana French film, shorts, documentaries and other media created in Louisiana.

Louisiana is the center point here. And Will intends to build a company that sources content from all the language cultures that make a home here. He founded Tele-Louisiane in 2018 and has steadily built a portfolio of original content for commercial and noncommercial partners. In 2021, he’s launching two new educational series marketed at the state’s French immersion programs.

Van

Of course for a lot of people, it’s not about where you’re going, it’s how you get there. RV travel isn’t just a means of conveyance, it’s a way of life. And one that commands a surprisingly lucrative segment of the travel economy. The RV industry accounts for roughly $50 billion in economic activity in the United States. And about 9 million Americans own RVs.

The sector is also starting to get a bit younger, as those bellwether millennials have begun to buy the appeal of traveling the open road in what can amount to a studio apartment on wheels. But the RV industry has been missing the connective tissue that makes hotel travel easier in the information age. Apps like Kayak.com or Travelocity don’t exist to centralize booking for the RV market. And that’s problematic for travelers who, by nature, go with the flow and often need a place to anchor down at the last minute.

That’s where Spot2nite comes in. Created by Terry Broussard and his son-in-law, Spot2nite offers both RV parks and RV travelers a convenient way to connect and manage bookings. Unlike the centralized booking apps in the hotel and resort industry, Spot2nite allows site operators to keep their existing booking systems. Spot2nite has park clients in 11 states and is developing an Apple iOS based mobile app that will accelerate the company’s growth.

 


Out to Lunch: January 6, 2021

Jan 7, 2021

When you have a business, you usually have some sort of a business plan. Even if you don’t run endless spreadsheets, you have goals, and an idea of how things will look if everything goes right. And, though you might be a bit more reluctant to think about it, you generally have an idea of what things might look like if you hit a lean period.

But, no matter how carefully you plan for every eventuality, for our two guests on Out to Lunch today there was nothing in the playbook to turn to when events conspired against them in the first Quarter of 2020.

When we first talked to these guys about appearing on Out to Lunch, we had a very different show planned. They both had their own very different shows planned too.

Scott Feehan is Executive Director of Festival International. If you live in Acadiana, you’re already wincing in sympathy. And wondering, “What’s going to happen to Festival in 2021?”

If you don’t know anything about Festival International, it’s a gigantic, sprawling and fabulous, free, street festival that takes place in downtown Lafayette every year in April. It’s the biggest international music and arts festival in the U.S.

The Other Show

Are you wondering what could be equally as difficult as being responsible for staging an outdoor street festival during a global pandemic? How about running a theater company? That’s what Steven Landry does.

Steven is Managing Artistic Director of Acadiana Repertory Theater. Acadiana Repertory Theater, or ART, is one a of a rare breed of theater companies that specializes in premiering new plays. If you’re one of the 73,000 playwrights on planet earth, it’s tough getting your work performed on any stage, anywhere. That’s why ART gets to select their annual season of 3 or 4 shows from over 1,400 submissions.

Photos by Jill Lafleur. Check out Scott’s appearance on Out to Lunch in happier days for Festival, and all of us. But, hey good times are around the corner, the show must go on, and somehow we’ll be live in 2021!

 


Out to Lunch: December 30, 2020

Jan 4, 2021

When it comes to spicy food there's hot, Cajun Hot, and Primo Pepper Hot, arguably the world's hottest. For all other Cajun food there's Cajun Crate.

  

Out to Lunch: December 23, 2020

Dec 23, 2020

Louisiana shares the abbreviation “L.A” with the city of Los Angeles. Although that sometimes leads to some confusion on paper and online, in the real world there is very little overlap between the LA lifestyle in the desert west and the LA lifestyle in the humid South.

For example, if Aileen Bennett sitting in for Christiaan Mader was to say “burritos” you’d say Los Angeles. If Aileen was to say “poboys” you’d pick Louisiana. So, how about “skateboarding?” Naturally you’re going to say, Los Angeles. But you know this is a trick question, right?

The answer is, Lafayette native, Daniel Barousse.

Daniel is an artist. A woodworker. And a skateboarder. The combination of those three traits is a company called Barousse Works, in which Daniel makes works of art from recycled skateboards.

How’s The Market Doing? No, not the stock market. The other one. On South Johnston.

During the Covid crisis we’ve seen some changes around here. Some businesses we regraded as institutions, and others we always assumed were doing great, have closed for good. Although we all lose something when a local business closes, as consumers we manage to recover. We find another place to eat a poboy, drink a daiquiri, or buy whatever it was we used to get at what used to be our favorite place.

But, during this pandemic we have come to realize there are some institutions that are simply irreplaceable. One of them is officially known as the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market, in Moncus Park. If you’re from Lafayette, you know it as The Farmer’s Market at The Horse Farm. Every Saturday morning since June 2013, the Farmer’s Market has been selling everything from fresh produce to popcorn. And offering experiences from Cajun music to face painting, 52 weeks a year. Some Saturdays it’s bitterly cold. Some Saturdays it’s raining. But every Saturday the Farmer’s market is open.

Or, it was. Until it wasn’t. To catch up with what we’re optimistically calling post-covid plans for the Farmer’s Market, Alieen Bennett talks with Market Director, Mark Hernandez.

If you didn’t know this show was made in the Louisiana variant of LA, and you just heard us talking about a vibrant farmer’s market and an artist who makes pieces of sculptural functionality out of recycled skateboards, you might well assume we were talking about the second largest city in America, rather than the 4th largest city in Louisiana.


Out to Lunch: December 16, 2020

Dec 18, 2020

Writers are hustlers. When you get paid cents per word, you’ve got to write a lot of words to make ends meet. And that’s getting harder to do in a crowded market. Anyone can blog. We all learn to string a few sentences together in high school. What’s the point in paying a professional?

In journalism, there’s actually a crisis because of that dynamic. There are as many reporters working today in the United States as there were 40 years ago. The machines that made publishing a lucrative business — actual printing presses — are rusting over. It’s not that there’s a lack of writing. There’s a lack of money to pay anyone to do it. For most folks writing for a living, that means writing whatever, whenever and however.

Christiaan’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana both write to pay the bills — and that’s not an easy thing to do. They wear a lot of hats to make ends meet and satisfy their curiosities.

Writer Charles Garret has led a curious life himself. He’s been a firefighter, a salesman, a mixed martial artist and a poet. Coming this year he’s launching a new venture Tora Arts that will turn back the clock on the communications industry – ditching the digital age for the honest touch of snail mail.

As a journalist, Chere Coen is a travel writer humping around the south for adventure and good eats. As Cherie Claire she’s a writer of romance novels— and a prolific one at that — publishing as many as two e-books each year.

Whatever medium they work in — journalism, poetry, advertising — today’s writers are hustlers, ready for the gig economy.

Out to Lunch is recorded over lunch at The French Press in downtown Lafayette.

 


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