Louisiana Eats

Christine Rigamer

It probably won’t surprise you that people who distill, prepare and sell alcohol are generally cheery. But what is it about their job that puts them in such a good mood? Some get to meet new faces every day, while others study the history of their profession, while even fewer teach the trade to apprentices. Whatever the case, they’re all willing to share their knowledge with others and pursue a comprehensive understanding of their profession.

Marvin Allen has tended bar at The Carousel Bar for twelve years and in that time he’s watched the American cocktail enter the mainstream. Marvin has advice about mixing drinks and shares some stories about the lively characters of the French Quarter.

We’ll also speak with three men about their commitment to distilling quality spirits like boutique hibiscus liquor, extra strength gin, and even a multi-million dollar Bourbon operation. We hope these spirited conversations will leave you informed and thirsty.   

Joe Shriner

Master Distiller Jimmy Russell has been making Wild Turkey Bourbon in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky for 60 years, beginning his unprecedented career in distilling in 1954 at 19 years old. In 2014, he set the record for longest tenured Master Distiller in the industry.

At the age of 80, Jimmy Russell holds the distinction of being the oldest active Master Distiller in North America.

New York Public Library

If you sit down with Joey Fonseca to discuss alligator hunting, he'll let you know that governmental regulations make his blood boil. But you'll also quickly learn that his excitement for alligator hunting is contagious. Joey is one of this week's guests whose work preserves culinary traditions.

Another is Dr. Oliver Houck, an environmental professor at Tulane. His frequent visits to the Mississippi River batture have taught him to love that mysterious place and give him a handful of stories to share. We'll also speak with Jim Heimann and Jarred Zeringue — men who have indirectly documented a time and place by preserving restaurant menus and grandma's recipes, respectably.   

Peder Severin Krøyer

Since most Louisianians are nurtured to embrace an extraverted social life, getting together is second nature to life in the Bayou State. But as often as bombastic parades and revelries help build our communities, spending time over at ya mom’s house is just as important.

On this week’s Louisiana Eats! we’re joined by a group of guests who want nothing more than for you to be comfortable in your own home.

Nancy Vienneau tells us how the monthly gatherings at her house turned her neighbors into friends; David and Lesley Solomonson help build an inexpensive liquor cabinet; and Johnette Downing keeps the kids entertained with upbeat songs about Louisiana cuisine.  

Thomas Walsh

At one point during his cooking career, Donald Link's co-workers nicknamed him "Hot Shot." Was it deserved? That depends on who you ask. Donald shares his side of the story with us in a revealing interview that takes you from the rock and roll kitchens of San Francisco to his award-winning restaurants in New Orleans.


When Bill Cosby announced his return to television this past week, we were delighted to share our exclusive interview with this comedy legend. Bill talks about his fondness for gumbo, some backstage shenanigans from a local crew, and reflections from the Civil Rights era.

Plus Jeff Henderson's new television program is helping Mom & Pop restaurants curtail their menus in healthier directions. Stuffed shrimp from Eddie's Restaurant in Shreveport is on Jeff's list, but the mythology behind their iconic food might intrigue you even more. We'll get the report from Chris Jay, then speak with Sean Wilsey about More Curious, his new book. 

Time Magazine/Inflanation

With so much dissenting information over dietary choices, it's tough to know which regime is right for you. We're not choosing sides, but in the next hour on Louisiana Eats! we'll speak with experts who know where they firmly stand.

Nina Teicholz spent nine years researching The Big Fat Surprise, which advocates a diet of meat, cheese, dairy and eggs. Not your style? Stick around for Wynnie Stine's reflections on The Moosewood Collective, an innovative restaurant built on 60's idealism. 

We'll also visit Veggie Fest in New Orleans, screen The 100 Foot Journey, and confront stress eating with nutritionist Molly Kimball

Thomas Walsh

There's no shortage of bars in New Orleans, but if you're looking to get a specialty craft beer the The Avenue Pub should be among the first places you go.

Years ago, Polly Watts inherited the business from her father and turned it around from it's original Miller-Coors-Budweiser base. Now it's one of the South's leading craft beer bars and a  favorite spot for beer enthusiasts. Pull up a stool to have a drink with Polly on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Ragulin Vitality

When it's unbearably hot in Louisiana, there's not much you can do to beat the heat. Take a tip from the guests on this week's Louisiana Eats!: cool down with a brew or leave town for a couple of weeks.

Thomas Walsh

Michel Nischan, Toby Rodriguez and Brian Kyzar are all men with grand ambitions. Even though they work in different parts of the country, they each plan to bring about changes within their niche of the food industry. 

Michel's been in the game for over 35 years. Among the many jobs he's had, Michel's done farm work, cooked in a kitchen, and opened a restaurant with Paul Newman. Now he's focused on changing food policy on the federal level. We hope you'll be as inspired by Michel as we have.

Then we'll speak with Toby Rodriguez and Brian Kyzar as they prepare for a pop-up dinner on Frenchmen Street. They're joining us to talk about reviving the Cajun traditions that were on the verge of extinction as little as five years ago.  

Plus, Dr. Gourmet returns and Poppy shares a recipe for fried shrimp heads: don't let them go to waste!