Ian McNulty


Ian is the host of Where Y’Eat and the Community Impact series at WWNO.

Each week, Ian shares his commentary on the intriguing food culture of New Orleans and south Louisiana with WWNO’s Where Y’Eat. He also shines light on the difference that innovative nonprofits are making across the New Orleans region through WWNO’s Community Impact series, interviewing nonprofit leaders and the people they serve.  Ian first became a WWNO contributor in 2009. He is a freelance journalist and a published author. A native of Rhode Island, Ian is a graduate of Rutgers University. He has lived in New Orleans since 1999.

Boudin from the New Orleans butcher shop Bourree at Boucherie.
Ian McNulty

Travel around Cajun country and it seems that no town is too small to have its own a car wash, its own dance studio and its own butcher shop — one with tasso and andouille and a universe of smoked, trussed, seasoned, stuffed and double-stuffed meats, and hot links of boudin and paper sacks of cracklin’ to eat on the spot. 

Only recently have more of those Cajun meat markets been turning up in New Orleans, but now more New Orleans neighborhoods can claim their own.

Off bottom cultivation is bringing a different flavor to Gulf oysters.
Ian McNulty

If we're at the oyster bar, and we're in Louisiana, when we talk about trying something new, we're usually not talking about the oyster.

New might mean sampling a cocktail sauce with a little extra mojo in it, or maybe even field testing some new jokes the shucker picked up. But for the oyster itself, we know exactly what to expect.

Ian McNulty

All around New Orleans, the sounds of the season signal cooler weather ahead. Some of these speak directly to our appetites too.

If you heard a sharp snap one recent morning, it might've been the sound of New Orleanians collectively switching off their air-conditioners at the start of a dramatically cooler day.

Soft shell crab tacos at Sun Ray Grill, a neighborhood eatery in Gretna.
Ian McNulty

Jerk chicken from Coco Hut, a Caribbean restaurant in New Orleans with a bold way with spice.
Ian McNulty

Keeping some semblance of cool as our summer heat rages on can take some strategy. We park the car under oak limbs and walk on the shady side of the street. We keep ice water handy and, when it's time to eat, something cool and light sounds like just the thing.

But across the spectrum, there is another way, and it’s to embrace the heat, to own it. Revel in fiery foods and you may just beat the heat at its own game.

Food memories resonate from the post-Katrina experience in New Orleans. This offer of red beans and hospitality was displayed on a Mid-City home for months after the floods.
Ian McNulty

Sometimes a sound will bring it back, as random as loose siding beating against a wall, recalling a shredded city, or as overt as the diesel rumble of an army Humvee on city streets.

Even if you’re ready to close the door on Katrina and the levee failures, and plenty of us have, the persistence of sense memories may have other plans. It’s that vivid, involuntary recall of what we took in, and no matter where we managed to store it this stuff can come creeping back, even a decade later.

Ian McNulty

As the Hurricane Katrina anniversary draws closer, you’ll hear a lot about New Orleans restaurants and what their comeback did for the city’s recovery. You’ll hear some of this for me too. It’s an important story, and a powerful one.

But first, I need to acknowledge the role played by a different sort of establishment that came back fast on the heels of Katrina, a type that may not have necessarily served food but did provide social nourishment — served up by the glass, the cup, the bottle or whichever way they could manage it.

Ian McNulty

Of all the facets of local life that have been up for re-evaluation lately, the New Orleans neighborhood restaurant might seem an unlikely candidate for change.

You know the places I’m talking about. They’re long on tradition, beloved and generally successful, sharing a common approach that New Orleans knows by heart. Why would anyone mess with that?

Ian McNulty

Scoring prized road food finds hiding behind big corporate logos on the Louisiana highway.

Food is always top of mind on any road trip, at least for me. After all, getting there may be half the fun, but getting there with some stops for good food… that is serious business.

CroMary / Shutterstock.com

What do you do when you see an unfamiliar face? The more I get around Louisiana, the more I think the answer is, you stuff it.