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: October 28, 2020

4 hours ago

In Acadiana we like to make music and dance. Today on Out to Lunch Acadiana we're working on some moves called The Pandemic Pivot, with musicians Wilson Savoy and Dustan Louque  and branding guru Jaci Russo from Brand Russo.

Out to Lunch: October21, 2020

Oct 21, 2020

Over the last few years, Southwest Louisiana has boomed. Billions in petrochemical investments poured into the region and put Lake Charles on an economic tear. And there were plenty of entrepreneurs to take advantage of the bonanza. With big ticket clientele around and plenty of work, prosperity in Lake Charles market was the envy of the state.

The pandemic put a halt to that. Just like it did the last decade of economic expansion in America, the longest on record.

Just when Lake Charles and the rest of Louisiana began to wake up again. It got walloped. Twice. First Hurricane Laura. Then Hurricane Delta.

Christiaan’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana have businesses  in Lake Charles that have managed to keep chugging despite the chain of disasters.

John Viator operates a pair of bicycle shops – Southern Bicycle Company in Lake Charles and Acadiana Bicycle Company in Lafayette. The industrial clientele in the Lake Charles area has made the shop there very successful. And John has catered to them. But he’s also diversified. He launched a golf cart operation, Southern Golf Cars, two years ago, is developing a running retail brand and now has eyes on the shoe market.

Cody Porche’s company, Porche Aerial Imagery, flies unmanned drones for aerial photography in the Lake Charles’ industrial sector. Drones are cheaper and safer to operate than helicopters and have begun to shoulder in on that market. As you can imagine, aerial photography is in pretty high demand after a disaster, and Cody says Laura has kept him very busy since it came ashore with devastating effect across Southwest Louisiana.


Out to Lunch: October 14, 2020

Oct 14, 2020

Queen of Kale, Taylor Stokes from Taylormade EATS and hydroponic farmer Larry Lemarie from Cajun Acres, LLC meet over the virtual lunch table with Christiaan Mader on this week's Out to Lunch Acadiana. 

Out to Lunch: October 7, 2020

Oct 7, 2020

Christiaan Mader was unexpectedly out of commission today so we’ve decided to take a trip back to our Best Of vault and make a return to the life of pies.


When we hear about people who are successful in business, we tend to hear different versions of a familiar story. Somebody with a singular vision relentlessly pursues an idea, till, against all odds and after all kinds of hardship, they create Wal-Mart or Apple. What you hear less often, are stories about people who have no single-minded obsession, but are nonetheless successful and happy, doing something today that just a few short years ago they would never have imagined. That’s the category that both of Aileen’s lunch guests fall into on this episode of Out to Lunch Acadiana.

Kevin Blanchard started out as a journalist. He was a news reporter in Lafayette, for The Advocate. By 2008 he was married and had kids. For a guy with a family to raise, the future of the newspaper business didn’t look too bright. So, Kevin went back to school. In 2011, he graduated from LSU with a law degree. As an attorney, Kevin was serving as Public Works Director and Chief Development Officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government when he came in contact with the owners of Southern Lifestyle Development. They’re the company behind River Ranch, and 17 other communities they’re developing throughout Louisiana.

Kevin went to work at Southern Lifestyle Development as their in-house counsel. He soon became the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Today Kevin is moving around millions of dollars as Executive Director of the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority but at the time of this conversation he was managing 40 employees at River Ranch and other developments.

Korey Champagne grew up in Thibodaux, went to LSU and majored in dietetics and nutritional science with a plan of getting into healthcare. On the way to making that plan happen, Korey was working as a paramedic. That’s when he met his wife, who is from Broussard, and they had a child.

At this time, Korey was making some extra money by going to The Farmers Market with homemade pies that he was making. He couldn’t help but notice two things: one, he loved making pies. And two, his pies sold out really  quickly. For a while, Korey was a paramedic piemaker. Till it got to the point where he had to make a decision about where to concentrate his efforts. The sensible plan would have been to concentrate on a career in healthcare.

And that’s how Korey came to be the founder and owner of a growing business called Acadian Slice. Acadian Slice is not a healthcare company, it makes pies.

Today’s business plan lesson? What business plan? Apparently you can follow your heart or your gut, without a plan, and end up being happy and successful.


Out to Lunch: September 30, 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Remember back in the BC (Before Covid) days when we had a music business? In this edition of Out to Lunch we look back on this conversation originally recorded in 2018.

In Acadiana there are a lot of things that differentiate us from the rest of the country. The biggest of all of them is music. You can live in Kansas and learn to make a gumbo. You can live in California and row a pirogue. But there’s no way in the wide world that you can convincingly play Jolie Blond on the accordion or Bosco Stomp on the fiddle, unless you’re born and raised here.

Typically, in a Western capitalist economy, a rare resource is worth a lot of money. However, when it comes to our treasured musicians, we tend to under value them. Most Cajun and Zydeco musicians are working a second job to subsidize their music career.

Wilson Savoy plays in the Grammy Award winning band Courtbouillon, and crowd favorite Pineleaf Boys. He’s also a carpenter, building and renovating homes.

Danny Devillier is a musician. And he’s come up with a new angle on a traditional way musicians often subsidize their careers: giving music lessons. Danny is a drummer. He plays in the Grammy nominated band Bonsoir Catin, and he’s played with everybody who’s anybody in Cajun and Zydeco from Michael Doucet to Roddie Romero. But Danny doesn’t just give drum lessons. He teaches people to play all kinds of instruments, including guitar and fiddle, at his music school, The Music Room, in Lafayette.