Tradition 2.0 – Out to Lunch – It’s Acadiana
On his album Purple Rain, Prince famously opens his dance party with the lines, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called Life.” Prince’s point is that we’re all on our individual journey to find happiness, but we’re also all in this together.
Most of us quietly go about our lives, making our own discoveries and mistakes, and hopefully getting wiser as we do. Then there are people who, like Prince, feel compelled to share their discoveries with the rest of us. And that’s what creates culture. Aileen’s lunch guests are both people who are determined to share their very different Acadian experiences with the rest of us. And that sharing is giving us the opportunity to both celebrate and change how we live in Acadiana.
Toby Rodriguez went to UL, studied industrial design, became a carpenter, then a butcher, then a celebrant of butchery with a travelling ritualistic Boucherie, and lastly found a home for all of his talents by taking over the Acadian Superette in Lafayette. That’s where we find Toby today, and the journey is far from over.
Phanat Xanamane (pronounced, Par-nut Zarna-marn) is an architect with a prestigious post-grad degree from Columbia University in New York, and an architecture, urban design, and urban research office in New Iberia. Phanat’s clients range across the country but he’s also heavily invested in revitalizing and, frankly, revolutionizing New Iberia – through design, dance, public transportation, health-and- wellness, and the economy. His initiatives range from a community garden to a bike sharing program. And much more.
For many reasons, you might expect Phanat’s compulsion to share would, at best, be greeted skeptically by a small, conservative, South Louisiana town. But that’s not at all what’s happening in New Iberia. Times are changing. And Phanat Xanamane is changing them.
This edition of Out to Lunch is a compelling look back into the future, with two of Acadiana’s most iconoclastioc traditonalists.
Photos at Cafe Vermilionville by Lucius A Fontenot.