Acadiana is famous for the wildcatter mentality. It’s a frame of mind inherited from the early days of the region’s oil industry, when lone prospectors went drilling until they struck black gold.
You can see the attitude just about everywhere. Lafayette has a really high level of entrepreneurship. Around 11% of the workforce is made up of business owners, a ratio competitive with innovation meccas like Austin, Texas.
So it’s not so much about what we’re making, but how we make it. It’s the spirit of the region.
David Meaux is working to make rum the spirit of the region as founder and master distiller of Wildcat Brothers. Wildcat is the second rum distillery in Louisiana and the first in Acadiana. It sources its flagship brand of small batch rums from local sugar cane.
The goal is to make sipping rum, something you can enjoy neat, up, or on the rocks. David is a lawyer by training and founded Wildcat in 2011. Today you can find bottles of their flagship Sweet Crude rum in 40 states.
Acadiana wouldn’t have much spirit without music. And in the wildcatter mentality, Dustin Gaspard has made a go of breaking into the region’s music scene as a singer-songwriter, an unusual track for a culture best known for dance music.
Dustin grew up in Cow Island but went all-in on his dream with a move to Lafayette. No car, no job, no place to sleep.
In 2016 Dustin suffered severe damage to his vocal chords, forcing him to change how he used his voice and inspiring him to hone his craft.
Dustin has released several singles and put out the record Hoping Heaven Got a Kitchen in 2022.
On this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana, Jan Swift sits in for Christiaan Mader who’s off on an assignment for the New York Times and NPR.
And check out recent lunchtime conversation with entertainer and creator of the Janky Piano show Hunter DeBlanc and selfie impresario Carlie Faulk.