OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, 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. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
When you travel around Acadiana it’s amazing how many talented people live in this part of the world. You can stop in at almost any small town and find a handful of people living there who are doing something sensational.
Take for example, Eunice.
After being born and raised in Eunice, Michelle La Fleur McFayden went to college for electrical engineering, and got a job with NASA. From 1988 to 1998 Michelle was a Space Shuttle Flight coordinator at NASA’s Mission Control. That’s one job you can’t bring home to Acadiana so when Michelle and her husband - NASA co-worker J.P. - decided to move back to Cajun country they had to find something else to do. That’s when Michelle and J.P discovered the Great Harvest Bread Company and opened a bakery on Kaliste Saloom in Lafayette.
Neither Michelle or J.P. had baked bread before. But, hey, it’s not rocket science, right?
Lori Walls comes from one of the most familiar families to folks in Eunice. The Johnsons. Lori’s grandfather opened Johnson’s Grocery in Eunice in 1939. Back then, Johnson’s was the first place in Acadiana to commercially sell Boudin. In 2005, after 68 continuous years, the family business closed down in Eunice.
Meanwhile, Lori was working for an optometrist in Lafayette. In her off hours she was smoking meats and making boudin at home. In 2008, Lori and her husband Greg opened the second generation of the family grocery, including an 80 seat restaurant, in Lafayette. They called it Johnson’s Boucaniere.
Today Johnson’s in Lafayette is already approaching institution status in Lafayette like its predecessor Johnson’s in Eunice.