Out To Lunch: Whole Food Whole New City

Jul 31, 2014

Peter Ricchiuti, GNO, Inc.'s Michael Hecht and John Elstrott, Chairman of the Board of Whole Foods Market.
Credit Grant Morris / It's New Orleans

Self-styled "Emperor of the Universe" entertainer Ernie K-Doe used to say that besides New Orleans being the birthplace of jazz, he was pretty sure everything came from New Orleans. When you tell people that grocery giant Whole Foods started here in New Orleans — on Esplanade Avenue — you generally get the same response you'd expect k-Doe would have gotten with his wild claim.

To support the Whole Foods creation story we get to hear it today first hand from one of its creators. John Elstrott was there on day one and today he is Chairman of Whole Foods Market. John tells Peter Ricchiuti the fascinating tale of the birth of the health food giant and the equally fascinating tales of what's ahead.

Peter's other lunch guest today is also on track to become the stuff legends are made of. Michael Hecht is CEO of GNO Inc. In this role and in his previous tour of duty in post-Katrina State Government in Baton Rouge, Michael Hecht is one of the most significant architects of Louisiana's recovery and New Orleans' sensational business resurgence.

Recorded over lunch at Commander's Palace, this conversation is a true meeting of the minds.