NOLA’s BACKYARD – Poche’s Market

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Now we are in the coach … amazing what you can shoot out of a moving window!


Now it is time to experience Cajun culture at the family owned meat packing plant called Poche’s Market and Restaurant in Breaux Bridge, LA.




Cracklins are fried pieces of pork fat with a small amount of attached skin …

_N2B4612FThere is a brief moment when the intensity in a person’s eyes makes a significant portrait. One of the workers at the Poche’s Market allowed me to take this quick photo during a brief break from the steaming hot work environment.

Above (L to R):  Boudin (a combination of cooked rice, pork, onions, green peppers and seasonings); Mr. Floyd Poche'(the owner of the market);Prep for Boudin; Alligator;


It’s Gator Season in Louisiana and we are heading to Riceland Crawfish  (above) to see how the gators are cleaned, skinned and processed.

And this is why I love what I do … every day is different. One day I’m photographing the leader of the free world and the next …. Well you get the picture.

Above shows the crawfish cages and the “beer bottle” method to make the indentation in the cage.



NOLA’s BACKYARD – Rural Life Museum

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Today is the morning of the planter’s breakfast at Rural Life Museum –  7:45 AM is board time for the coach so this is when traveling with a running partner makes all the difference in the world … I am so much better shooting if I can log a few miles first,  we start the day with a very early morning run ( 3 miles = 1 biscuit). There will be a lot of food at this planter’s breakfast – so Lisa and I are out early.  Look who is watching us …


You cannot help but feel transported to another time when walking the grounds of the Rural Life Museum. Chef John Folse has arranged a planter’s breakfast and how he managed to organize the weather to so stunningly cooperate I haven’t quite figured out.

Rural Life Museum Planter’s Breakfast

Knowing that the light just grazing the tops of the buildings soon would be too harsh, I felt the pressure of slowing myself down long enough to really see and compose … I knew that I couldn’t capture everything but I wanted you to feel the warmth of the sun on your shoulders when you looked at my opening shot. I wanted you to crave those biscuits and well, then there is the bacon ….

NOLA’s BACKYARD – Houmas House

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Houmas House Plantation
The cottages of the sugar barons at Houmas House Plantation served as our home for the next two evenings. The Plantation is located alongside the big bend in the Mississippi River on 38 acres of gardens, ponds and majestic live oaks.

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board sponsored a Plantation Seafood dinner.  The issue here is trying to shoot the food before it is consumed.  For this group food is their passion, so I quickly make a circle documenting the different dishes and then work back through the group a second and third time.


We ended our evening trying not to watch the political debates going on in the Turtle Bar … no one wanted to spoil the warm feelings that the shared experiences with both food and friendship had created.


Turtle Bar at Houmas House Plantation

NOLA’s BACKYARD – Tony’s Seafood

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After we pick up our guests at the airport, we start our journey with a shoebox lunch while


our host Chef John Folse,

_NPB9999BWcrop  an expert on Louisiana history, leads our trip to the first stop at Tony’s Seafood. He explains that before the civil rights movement, dining while traveling by train was a challenge for black people. Although white train passengers were served in dining cars, Jim Crow laws barred black passengers. Thus, the shoe box lunch, a meal in a box packed before boarding, became common for traveling black families.

So a side note on the “skinning of the fish” shot, I didn’t just take this once, No — I had the stomach clenching opportunity to document this activity twice – so close you could smell it and step in the slick surface from the operation. And, that is because I smiled … yes there are times when a smile is not the answer and this was one of those times. It was very noisy at Tony’s Seafood,  with orders being placed, and people everywhere and the motors in the refrigerators humming loudly. When this very proud fishmonger asked me something, as my stomach was turning over from the first episode of “how to clean a fish” … I just smiled because I couldn’t hear him and I was trying desperately not to throw up … and then voila’ before I knew what was happening … another fish, another hook, the knife and well you get the idea … No More Smiling!!!




Flavor Forays:  NOLA’s BACKYARD


Purloo – SoFAB


Nannette will you document a group of the worlds top chefs and F&B directors while we take them on a trip to the Louisiana Bayou country?

Flavor Forays is the creation of Barbara Mathias, former publisher of Food Arts magazine and Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts magazine.

We are planning a food immersion and intend to meet the characters, the farmers, the fishermen, the producers and the cooks who make the Bayou country one of the richest culinary areas in the United States.


Purloo – SoFAB

Honestly, they had me at the word Bayou … the sultry air, flavorful food and characters that come to mind will make this a priority on my calendar. But the addition of boudin, Bourbon and even alligator make it impossible to say no. As a long-time vegetarian, I may not want to taste it, but I know that I will want to photograph it … and I’ve always said that bacon will break me one day!

We arrive October 12, a day before our guests arrive, to make any last minute preparations and to share some time with Liz Williams at the new location of SoFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum.)


Purloo – SoFAB




Purloo – SoFAB





NOLA’s BACKYARD – Chef Prudhomme

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We had a rather surreal experience to begin this project focused on food and the cross over of cultures.  While walking through the Quarter we found ourselves joining the second line March for Chef Paul Prudhomme. Members of the restaurant business and other local dignitaries gathered at St. Louis Cathedral Monday for the funeral of Chef Paul Prudhomme.

”I was struck by the reactions to my food from people all over the country,” he said. ”I began to understand how unique the traditional foods of my family were. I came to realize that the joy of cooking Cajun and Creole food was not just that I appreciated its goodness so much, but that there was this great pleasure I got from watching other people eat it and seeing the joy in their eyes.”

Following the funeral mass, a procession and second line went from the Cathedral to K-Paul’s restaurant.