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Louisiana Insider

Louisiana Insider

By Louisiana Insider
A superlative guide to a great state’s destinations, hosted by Errol Laborde, Executive Editor of Louisiana Life Magazine.
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Episode 20: A Plantation in Modern Times – Owner Kevin Kelly Discusses the Revival of Houmas House, and the Challenges Involved

Louisiana Insider

Episode 20: A Plantation in Modern Times – Owner Kevin Kelly Discusses the Revival of Houmas House, and the Challenges Involved

Louisiana Insider

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Episode 64: Notes on Votes - How Louisiana Politics is Changing
Louisiana politics is known for being colorful and controversial. It is also, like most politics, constantly changing. Two University of Louisiana Political Scientists, Pearson Cross and Christie Maloyed, have compiled a book, “The Party is Over: The New Louisiana Politics” featuring contemporary political readings. They join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, in the Louisiana art of talking politics.  Oh yes, we will also hear an evaluation of the Bobby Jindal administration and what might have gone wrong.
45:34
December 2, 2021
Episode 63: Exploring The Green Book – A Travel Guide From The Age Of Segregation
At issue was Black vs. White. In the days of racial segregation many road places were denied to black travelers. For decades, a guidebook offering travel suggestions was called "The Green Book." "The Green Book," named after the publication’s founder, provided highway information about motels, restaurants and places to go along the nation’s highways. A full length film and a Smithsonian documentary about the topic have been produced and now Louisiana Public Broadcast (LPB) has put together the documentary “Safe Haven – Louisiana’s Green Book,” focused on key locations in Louisiana, including New Orleans’ Dooky Chase restaurant and the bluesy Dew Drop Inn. The documentary’s co-producers Kara St. Cyr and Emma Reid join Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde and podcast producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the discoveries from "The Green Book," a few of which still stand. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the impact that the ESSO gasoline company had in supporting black travel.
49:38
November 18, 2021
Episode 62: A View From The Coushatta Nation – A Tribal Chairman Speaks Out
Louisiana has four federally recognized Native American tribes, one of the most historic is the Coushattas who settled largely around Allen Parish in the vicinity of Elton and Kinder. David Sickey is a past tribal chairman and a member of the tribe’s governing board. Sickey joins Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde and podcast producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the history, culture and some of the social issues that the state’s tribal people face. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the impact of the casinos.
56:31
November 11, 2021
Episode 61: Edwards, The Stories Continue; Plus, A Dad's War
Tyler Bridges has stories to tell, so many that this edition of Louisiana Insider will feature two of them. One is the shocking saga of former governor Edwin Edward's body being exhumed and then cremated at the orders of his widow and, allegedly, without the knowledge of his family by earlier marriages. And the other is from Bridges’ new book, “The Flight: One Father's War, a Son’s Search,” about his dad, a bomber pilot during World War II being shot down and then held as a prisoner of war before escaping. Bridges, a journalist for The Advocate newspaper, who has twice been on a Pulitzer Prize winning team, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell both tales. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about an idea to create a burial place for governors.
43:01
November 4, 2021
Episode 60: Klan of Devils – New Book Reports On 1965 Murder of a Black Louisiana Deputy
Stanley Nelson is a north Louisiana journalist who has made a specialty out of investigating Ku Klux Klan-related murders. His newest book, "Klan of Devils: The Murder of A Black Louisiana Deputy Sheriff" tells the harrowing story of a 1965 crime in which two Washington Parish deputies were shot while on duty. One deputy died, but the other was only - though severely – injured and able to provide some witness information. The book traces the ensuring investigation and the eventual involvement of the FBI. It is a riveting study of racial relations during that time. Nelson joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to reveal the detail of the crime and the investigation. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about a secret meeting held between then Governor John McKeithen, looking for help, and the FBI.
44:37
October 27, 2021
Episode 59: The Plight of Coastal People – A Geographer's Perspective
Craig Colton looks at Louisiana’s endangered wetlands not only as an environmentalist, but also as a geographer and anthropologist. Colton, a professor of geography at LSU, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the plight and hopes of coastal residents, as reported in his new book, “State of Disaster: A Historical Geography of Louisiana’s Land Loss Crisis.” Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the math, as Louisiana’s land loss is often described in terms of football fields.
46:43
October 21, 2021
Episode 58: On Top of the Hill – Journalist Steve Roberts Recalls Career of Wife Cokie Roberts
Steve Roberts has experienced life from many different angles. He is an accomplished journalist who has written a nationally syndicated political column. He was the husband of the late Cokie Roberts, who reported for ABC News and National Public Radio and wrote several books, some specializing in women’s political history. His mother-in-law as the late Lindy Boggs, who was a member of congress from Louisiana and went on to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, and his father-in-law was Hale Boggs, a member of Congress who was on the path to become Speaker of the House before disappearing in an Alaskan plane crash in the '70s. Roberts joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot in a memorable interview to discuss his career and his new book about Cokie Roberts. Oh yes, we’ll also hear Cokie Roberts’ argument made to her mother about why she should accept the Vatican appointment.
01:02:09
October 14, 2021
Episode 57: Towns With Charm
Which Louisiana town has Dolly Parton as part of its history? Which town was settled as part of a German religious sect? These and other questions are answered as Louisiana Life magazine’s travel writer Chere Cohen joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to reveal her picks of the state’s most charming towns. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about why Natchitoches became famous for meat pies and about a nearby town that’s known for its tamales.
38:27
October 7, 2021
Episode 56: Booze, Bordellos and Battles – Impact of World War I Era in Louisiana
Europe was ablaze with the biggest war that the planet had experienced up to that time. In Louisiana, there were also lots of battles; including an end to the Red Light District, racial tensions and the coming of prohibition. And there were a few clear victories with the evolution of Jazz and women’s suffrage. Historian Brian Altobello joins Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell stories from his new book “Whiskey, Women and War: How the Great War Shaped Jim Crow New Orleans.” Oh yes, we’ll also hear about Mayor Martin Behrman and his impact on restructuring the city.
01:14:48
September 23, 2021
Episode 55: La Nouvelle Louisiane – What’s New In the State? A Lot
Even through the COVID-19 slowdown and taunting by hurricanes there has been lots going on in Louisiana over the last couple years. To prove its point, Louisiana Life magazine presents its annual La Nouvelle Louisiane awards. Melanie Warner Spencer, the magazine’s managing editor, joins Errol Laborde along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the best of what’s new in the state including places, things, culinary adventures and even people with stories to tell. Oh yes, we’ll also hear the magazine’s picks of five charming Louisiana towns.
01:03:15
September 16, 2021
Episode 54: The Civil Rights Trail - Stories From The Saga
When the story of the protests for more civil rights in Louisiana is told there were several key stops along the way including a church in Shreveport, a march to Bogalusa and Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. Organizer Brenda McKinley and former TV news anchor Norman Robinson join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell stories about the height of the Civil Rights struggle. The story is now made more visual by the state's new Civil Rights trail, which provides informational trail markers and web-based information about the saga. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about Ray Charles and his mention of Dooky Chase in one of his songs.
01:04:43
September 9, 2021
Episode 53: Shane Bernard - A Man and his TABASCO
Shane Bernard has Louisiana culture in his blood. He also has splashes of Tabasco sauce. Bernard, a historian who has chronicled Cajun culture and the Swamp pop music scene, is also the archivist for Tabasco hot sauce. He, a scholar on the hot stuff, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about, not just the sauce, but its home base of Avery Island, one of the few places in Louisiana where there has been mining activity below the ground. In this case, for salt. Oh yes, we’ll also here about his dad, a former swamp pop superstar, and the surprising revelation of where the barrels come from that are used to age the Tabasco mash.
48:40
August 26, 2021
Episode 52: Bob Mann - Stories From a Political Reporter Who Lived Close to the Action
Bob Mann has been in the boiler room with many important Louisiana political figures including Russell Long, J. Bennett Johnson, John Breaux and Katheen Blanco. He has also written about Louisiana politics as a newspaper reporter and as an author of several political books. Mann, who is now the Manship Chair in Journalism at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communications, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell stories from his new book, “Backrooms and Bayous: My Life in Louisiana Politics.” Oh yes, we’ll also hear Russell Long’s take on why his dad, Huey, hastened his political agenda. 
58:18
August 19, 2021
Episode 51: A Louisianian Who Saved China
Clare Chennault led the country he was fighting for in defeating the Japanese in the air war. Surprisingly, that country was China and without his aerial combat skills Japan may have conquered the nation in 1937. Accordingly, the outcome of World War II, which was just beyond the horizon, may have been totally different. Author Richard P. Voohries, Jr., a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about his book, “Chennault, A Rebel in China,” as well as Chennault’s famous combat squad, “The Flying Tigers.” Oh yes, we will also here about how Chennault was influenced by early American Generals, southern traditions and his relationship with Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the ruling Generalissimo.
56:43
August 12, 2021
Episode 50: Playing the Wildcard – The Rise of Casino Gambling in Louisiana
This year marks the 30th anniversary of casino type gambling being legitimized in Louisiana. Pulitzer-winning journalist Tyler Bridges joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the political history of the games of chance. He should know. His book, "Bad Bet on the Bayou" (published in 2001) followed the many twists in the tale. Oh yes, they will also discuss who went to jail and why.
45:35
July 29, 2021
Episode 49: Steps To Power - Former Secretary of State Jim Brown
Former Secretary of State Jim Brown talks about Edwin Edwards; Louisiana politics and back home in Ferriday When Jim Brown, a young attorney from Louisiana first met Edwin Edwards, who was in Congress at the time, the two men sat on the steps of the U.S. capitol and talked about Louisiana politics and their ambitions. It was a fateful meeting. Edwards would go on to being elected governor four times; Brown would serve as Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner. Brown joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about Edwards, his career, Louisiana politics and even some music stars who came from Brown’s hometown of Ferriday. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about Brown’s first law client and about his last request to former governor Jimmie Davis.
01:20:13
July 22, 2021
Episode 48: Supreme Choice - A Young Lawyer and a Defendant Argue Their Case Before the Highest Court
It was 1966 and racial tensions, which were always high in Plaquemines Parish, were boiling over—a group of male Black students was fighting against some white males. Gary Duncan, a local who was related to one of the Black students, saw the action and wanted to help calm things down. In the process, he put his hand on the shoulder of one of the white males. That cost him. Duncan was later arrested and charged with assault. Thus, began the case that the United States Supreme Court would one day label as “Duncan vs. Louisiana.” Richard Sobol, a young white Civil Rights attorney who had relocated to New Orleans, took up Duncan’s case, which would make its way to the nation’s highest court. The story is now the subject of a documentary, “A Crime in the Bayou.” Gary Duncan and documentary filmmaker Nancy Buiriski join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the battle for justice. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about Plaquemines Parish’s tyrannical political boss and about Sobol one day phoning Duncan to report on news from the Supreme Court.
41:55
July 16, 2021
Episode 47: Bridges To Cross - Spans Across The Mississippi
Imagine, you’re the pilot of an ocean freighter working its way up the Mississippi River. There’s something important you should know. Regardless of your destination you should dock the big ship somewhere before you reach the “old bridge” in Baton Rouge. After that, the river gets shallower all the way up to Minnesota. At this point you’re better off being the captain of a tow boat pushing barges. Photographer Philip Gould joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about his book, “Bridging the Mississippi: Spans Across the Father of Waters,” for which Gould, and his wife, co-author Margot Hasha, document crossings from the river’s northern origin at Lake Itasca to the twin spans in New Orleans. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the engineer who was responsible for the steel bridge in St. Louis and the jetties near the mouth of the river.
52:59
July 8, 2021
Episode 46: Ghosts of Good Times: Dance Halls, Swamp Pop and Zydeco
Imagine, walking down the street one night in Opelousas and hearing in the distance music from Ray Charles or maybe James Brown. Only that was no jukebox that you were hearing but Charles and Brown themselves performing live in St. Landry Parish. There was a day when the state was dotted with dancehalls and big name entertainers travelled the circuit. Within those walls the sounds of Zydeco also began to flourish including Rockin’ Sidney commanding “Don’t Mess with My Toot-Toot.” And, swamp popper Rod Bernard swooned that “This Should go on Forever.” Author Herman Fuselier joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about his book, “Ghosts of Good Times: Louisiana Dance Halls, Past and Present,” as well as the emergence of Zydeco and its biggest stars. Oh yes, we’ll also hear theories on what “Toot-Toot” means, but, warning, whatever the answer, don’t mess with it.
53:55
July 1, 2021
Episode 45: Living at the River's Edge - At Home on the Adventurous Side of a Batture
A levee’s riverside is called a batture. For a few hearty souls it is also called “home.” Author Macon Fry lives in a camp on a batture at the edge of Orleans Parish. He has been chronicling stories of people who live so near the water they can sometime feel the wave action through their floor. Fry, who once canoed down the entire Mississippi River, has stories to tell about life as a “river rat’ and shares them with Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the uphill migration of river shrimp and marvel as the size of the Mississippi’s catfish.
54:53
June 24, 2021
Episode 44: Speakeasies and Hard Liquor – Louisiana During Prohibition
Louisiana has always had some dry parishes where booze was limited by local law, but the state and especially New Orleans did not take too well to the period from 1920 through 1933, when alcohol sales was curtailed nationwide. Prohibition was a raucous era with colorful characters, hot jazz and behind the doors activity. Author Sally Asher joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell tales about the days when the cork was supposed to stay in the bottle. Oh yes, we’ll also hear the story about a federal investigator and how long it took him to find a drink in New Orleans.
53:35
June 17, 2021
Episode 43: Movies That Moved Us - Top Films Set In Louisiana
What does it mean when the top 10 movies set in Louisiana are discussed, two of them have the word “Easy” in the title? After much discussion, we have concluded that it is probably only a coincidence because the competition is tough. Film critic Alfred Richard joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, in a lively conversation to reveal his choices of the top 10 films set in Louisiana. (Spoiler alert: While the “Easy” films make the list they are not at the top.) Oh yes, we’ll also hear about the impact that one of those films had on a small Louisiana town and, in a brief conversational diversion, what it is like to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.
01:14:15
June 10, 2021
Episode 42: Exploring Jewish Louisiana – One of the State's Oldest Cultures
For many, the image of Jewish settlements in the United States have been mostly on the East Coast and in major cities. However, there has long been a Jewish population spread across the South and in rural areas. Dating back to the 1700s, some of the earliest Jewish settlers were peddlers selling their wares to eagerly awaiting customers across the landscape. Executive Director of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience Kenneth Hoffman and Morris Mintz, a founding board member of the museum, join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to talk about the Jewish story in Louisiana, which includes being victimized by prejudices yet being appreciated for civic leadership and philanthropy. Oh yes, we will also hear about the new museum that details the story of the southern Jewish experience and listen to a klezmer song that might surprise you.
44:37
June 3, 2021
Episode 41: A Plantation and a Briar Patch - Stories from a Place Called "Laura"
Br’er Rabbit was a trickster who loved to defy authority and who pulled his stunts throughout the South. He is known for finding seclusion in briar parches but in Louisiana, his spiritual home was Laura Plantation where former slaves told stories that traced back to their West African roots. Norman Marmillion, a co-owner of Laura Plantation (located near Vacherie, 39 miles up river from  New Orleans), joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell stories of the plantation house, the cabins and out-buildings that still survive on the property, as well as the social life of a girl named Laura. Oh yes, we’ll also hear about an earthquake fault line located near the property and another trickster’s real estate deal that once went wrong.
01:05:54
May 26, 2021
Episode 40: Artifacts? Yes. Apparitions? Maybe – Exploring Magnolia Plantation
Don’t you just hate it when you’re walking in the yard of an old farmhouse and there is a ghost staring out the window? How about that strange noise some folks claim they have heard coming from the barn? And do you sometimes get the feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder only to turn and find no one there? Those are stories that Kenneth Brown, an archaeologist from the University of Houston, heard as he went digging at Magnolia Plantation near Natchitoches, Louisiana. Brown did not spot any ghosts himself, but he did learn much about the lives and traditions of those who occupied those grounds – including post-war freed slaves. Brown, who was a guest expert on the Destination America show “Ghost Brothers" which hosted it's first episode at the plantation, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell stories about what archaeologists are learning from plantation life. Oh yes, we will also hear about what he found in the ground for his exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
51:56
May 19, 2021
Episode 39: Charity, The Hospitals – A History of Help in a Heartbeat
Louisiana was one of the pioneering states at offering free healthcare to its citizens. And there were several state-run Charity hospitals, with the New Orleans facility being one of the largest in the nation.  James Ciaravella, a retired surgeon turned author, who spent several years at “Big Charity” joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell stories about medicine for the masses and some of the medical breakthroughs.  Oh yes, we will also hear about Tulane vs. LSU facing each other, not only on the sports field, but in the operating room.
47:13
May 13, 2021
Episode 38: A Long Way From Palermo, How The Sicilians Influenced Louisiana
Louisiana, we know, is the creation of many ethnic groups but one that doesn’t always get the credit it is due is the Sicilians. The port of New Orleans was the largest arrival point of migrants from the island off the Italian coast. The group would become very active in agriculture and also influential in food, music, politics and religious celebrations. Historian Justin Nystrom joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell tales about the rich Sicilian traditions.  Oh yes, we will also reveal our pick for the best cannoli.
56:57
May 6, 2021
Episode 37: The Kingfish Swimming with the Sharks - How Huey Long Shaped Louisiana Politics
Huey Long is such a part of the legend of Louisiana politics one might think he was governor for decades. In fact he did not serve a full term, but his impact would last for decades. From his perch as a United States Senator he ruled Louisiana. Even after his assassination his followers would maintain his legacy of populism and political control. Historian Alex McManus joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell about the Long era, it believers and its enemies.  Oh yes, we will also hear about Long’s highway linking the State Capitol to the Roosevelt Hotel.
54:34
April 29, 2021
Episode 36: Cajun Soldiers in World War II – Bringing Something Extra
Imagine a Lieutenant leading a platoon through a French village during World War II. He has questions to ask the locals but everyone in his group only speaks English. What does he do? He calls for the soldier from French Louisiana to translate. Historian Jason Theriot joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to tell about his upcoming book, “Frenchies.” Through years of interviews, Theriot has accumulated stories about the unique role many Louisiana G.I.s performed as the Allies pushed through France and Belgium.  Oh yes, we will also hear about the impact that the war had on Cajun pride.
30:51
April 21, 2021
Episode 35: The Empire of Louisiana – Aaron Burr and What Might Have Been
Imagine being Vice-President of the United States and having killed Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Imagine that later in his career the same person possibly committed sedition by trying to make the newly purchased Louisiana territory part of an independent empire. Imagine that this person gets off without any punishment and spends the last years of his life as a practicing lawyer in Manhattan. UNO historian Charles Chamberlain joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell the riveting story about Aaron Burr’s career including his Louisiana territory escapade. Oh yes, we will also hear the career advice Burr sings to Hamilton in the musical by that name.
38:26
April 16, 2021
Episode 34: The Bounty From The Sea - Stanley Dry At The Skillet
What is the better fish for eating, red drum or red snapper? They’re both good but food writer Stanley Dry know the differences. Dry has a long list of credentials including being food editor for Louisiana Life magazine and the author of the hardback book “The Essential Louisiana Seafood Cookbook” published by the magazine. Seafood is the entire topic as Dry makes a return visit to the podcast. He joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, and podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the bounty from the Gulf and the state’s waterways. Oh yes, we will also hear about what else, besides corn and sausage, to toss into the crawfish boil.
43:00
April 8, 2021
Episode 33: Conversation with a Voodoo Priestess
Is Voodoo a religion or is it a way of life? According to Sallie Ann Glassman it is both. Glassman, who travelled to Haiti to study Vodou and to be initiated into the priesthood explains the complexities including the parallels with Roman Catholicism and certain saints. Glassman joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to talk about the mysteries of Voodoo. Oh yes, we will hear about the impact of drumming to the spirit.
48:41
April 1, 2021
Episode 32: Soul and the Holy Spirit
Churches in the Black community are historically known as places where preachers preach with more fervor and where choirs rock the house with hand-clapping joy, hoping for better days. A documentary produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting entitled, “Louisiana’s Black Church, the Politics of Perseverance,” examines religion in around the state. Executive producer Linda Midgett and producer and reporter Kara St. Cyr join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to talk about the triumphs and hopes from the pulpit.  Oh yes, we will also discover a hidden meaning of the name "Moses."
49:46
March 24, 2021
Episode 31: À la recherche de Cajun (Or, as they say in that other language: In Search of Cajun)
It all began with the word “Acadian," which became Americanized to “Cajun” and then popularized to define life’s necessities including a two-step in Mamou and the spiciness of fried chicken. Join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot as University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor and documentary maker Nathan Rabalais discusses his production “Finding Cajun,” which made its broadcast debut on Louisiana Public Broadcasting. We will hear about the history of the people and the word, as well as, a delve into the timeless question about preference, “boudin or cracklins?”
40:11
March 18, 2021
Episode 30: In Search of a Pirate
One of the most powerful men in the history of what is now Louisiana was Jean Lafitte. At his peak, Laffite was a mixture of pirate king, Mafia Don and local hero. For as famous as he was there is still much mystery to the Lafitte story, including his place and year of death. North Carolina-based mother and daughter co-authors Ashley Oliphant and Beth Yarbrough join Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to reveal discoveries from their new book "Jean Laffite Revealed: Unraveling One of America’s Longest Running Mysteries." The ending of this story is far different than anyone ever knew. Oh yes, we will also hear about finding Laffite’s sword and how the pirate and Andrew Jackson actually got along.
58:17
March 11, 2021
Episode 29: Traveling the Scenic Byways
We know about the interstates and federal highways that lace the state, but there is a lot to be learned from exploring the old roads. Louisiana is rich with trails all of which have fascinating stories from the gulf coast to the state’s northern tip. Sharon Calcote, the director of the Louisiana Scenic Byways program, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell tales from 19 designated trails. Oh yes, we will also discover one trail where the story was made into a movie that won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
45:49
March 4, 2021
Episode 28: A Man and His Movies – Louisiana Stories
Glen Pitre’s first film “Belizaire: the Cajun” (1986) starring Armand Assante was backed by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. Pitre would go on to have more successes, including “The Scoundrel’s Wife” (2002) starring Tatum O’Neal. Roger Ebert, the late film critic on the Chicago Sun-Times, described Pitre as a “legendary American regional director.” Pitre’s latest effort is “Mary, Queen of Vietnam,” a documentary about the state’s thriving Vietnamese population. Pitre joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about film making on the Bayou.  Oh yes, we will also discover his favorite boudin, white or red.
59:06
February 25, 2021
Episode 27: A Spanish Liquor That Louisiana Saved; And why not to be bitter about bitters
Hardly anyone knows it, but the Louisiana-based Sazerac Company has become one of the top liquor brand distributors in the country. Plus, it operates the amazing new Sazerac House museum in New Orleans. Rhiannon Enlil, a historian for the museum, joins Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to talk about the bounty from the bar and New Orleans’ controversial claims to be the birthplace of the cocktail. Oh yes, we will also discover if Sazeracs and Old Fashions are related.
53:50
February 18, 2021
Episode 26: Staycations – Traveling Far, Yet Close To Home
Where a bridge crosses the Mississippi River, connecting St. Francisville on one side and New Roads on the other, is a little like crossing the English Channel. There is the French culture on the New Roads side and a touch of English heritage in the St. Francisville vicinity. True, the Mississippi is a lot longer than the English Channel, but we’re just trying to make the point. There is a lot to discover in Louisiana. In this year where travel – especially international – is challenging, staycations might be the way to go. Travel writer Chere Coen joins Errol Laborde, Executive Editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about great staycation spots around the state – some that you might not have thought of before.  Oh yes, we will also mention which of the city’s towns has been called, “the happiest city in America.”
48:17
February 12, 2021
Episode 25: If You Were An Escaping Nazi P.O.W., Louisiana Was A Far Place To Swim From; National WWII Museum
Besides sending many of its best overseas, Louisiana played important roles in World War II including ship manufacturing, training and housing German POWs. Dwight Eisenhower even spent times here overseeing maneuvers. Louisiana is still part of the World War II story as it is home to the war’s national museum. Kim Guise, a curator for the museum, joins Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde and podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the war and her specialty, the role of women. Oh yes, we will also hear music from the era!
56:43
February 4, 2021
Episode 24: What Do A Zydeco Expert And An Authority On Ancient Roman Technology Have In Common?
Spoiler alert!! The answer to the above question is that they are both among this year’s class of Louisianians of the Year. The two – Zydeco buff Herman Fuselier and teacher Nathalie Roy – are part of the nine selected this year by Louisiana Life magazine. Melanie Warner Spencer, the magazine’s managing editor, joins executive editor Errol Laborde, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, to talk about this year’s talented group. You’ll even hear about how Bob Thames, a Shreveport brewer, was inspired by an ancient bottle of bourbon to raise money for hospitality workers suffering losses because of COVID. He collected $27,000!
36:09
January 28, 2021
Episode 23: Cajun Navy - Riding Rough Waves
They’re not all Cajuns nor are there any admirals in the bunch, but they have certainly experienced battles on the water and on the land. Rob Gaudet, the founder of the Cajun Navy, joins Louisiana Life executive editor Errol Laborde and podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the group's rescue effort through high waters and cyclones including Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the storms that have hit Lake Charles and Southern Louisiana. You’ll even hear how a skilled communication's system has become part of the weaponry of war and how pirogues performed in the streets of Houston.
36:40
January 21, 2021
Episode 22: Bounty of the Cajun Pig – Cochon de Lait, Boudin, Cracklins and Other Treasures from the Boucherie
Cajuns are often associated with seafood, especially the crawfish, but in the prairie areas of south Louisiana, Cajuns are pork eater. Dixie Poche, author of the book the “Cajun Pig,” joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to savor the pork. Oh yes, they will also discuss the appeal of hog’s head cheese.
38:54
January 14, 2021
Episode 21: Bourbon Beat – Louisiana’s Cocktail Culture
Not only have whiskey and rum long been shipped through the state’s ports but local bartenders have created classics such as the Sazerac and Huey Long’s favorite, the Ramos Gin Fizz. Tim McNally – an expert on cocktail history and the author of a new book about the Sazerac, along with Louisiana Life Magazine Executive Editor Errol Laborde and producer Kelly Massicot, provides a fun romp through the history of booze in Louisiana.
43:38
January 7, 2021
Episode 20: A Plantation in Modern Times – Owner Kevin Kelly Discusses the Revival of Houmas House, and the Challenges Involved
What is it like to own a plantation estate? Well, instead of worrying about the sugar harvest there is more concern about the tourist arrivals. It also helps to have a good eye for architecture, design and style. Kevin Kelly the owner of Houmas House and Gardens in Ascension Parish joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot on a verbal exploration of grandeur, controversy and history. Oh yes, he will also reveal the latest on a rumored Viking invasion.
34:51
December 28, 2020
Episode 19: Sizzling In The Kitchen – Stanley Dry, The Best of Louisiana Cooking
To the great debate about which is more appropriate to accompany gumbo – sweet potato or potato salad? – Stanley Dry offers a great alternative, sweet potato salad. Dry is the Food Editor for Louisiana Life magazine. He had also written for Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review and is the author of "The Essential Louisiana Cookbook" published by Louisiana Life. He joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot on a verbal exploration of the best of Louisiana cooking. Oh yes, the New Iberia resident is also a dedicated baker and will reveal his picks of the best of Louisiana pies...
40:28
December 17, 2020
Episode 18: A Man and His Swamp - Dean Wilson, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper
Asked which he prefers, alligators or crocodiles, and Dean Wilson did not hesitate. “Alligators,” he replied, “I can swim with them, but I can’t swim with crocodiles.” Wilson should know. He once spent four months alone in the Atchafalaya swamps' deep basin with only “a spear, a few hooks, a bow and arrows.” Fortunately, he lived to tell about it and to discuss his career of saving the basin. His fights these days are more often against human intruders than critters. Wilson is founder and executive director of the Atchafalaya Basin Keeper, a group dedicated to saving the basin he knows from the inside and outside. He joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot on a verbal exploration of the basin, North America’s great river swamp. Oh yes, he will also tell about the time that a nutria got in his boat.
37:21
December 10, 2020
Episode 17: Pre-Historic Poverty Point - Indigenous Settlement Is Rich With Discoveries
Poverty Point is a pre-historic settlement dating back as far as 1700 years BC. Located in what is now Northeastern Louisiana, Poverty Point was the center of an indigenous culture that spread thorough the Gulf South. Archaeologists Diana Greenlee digs old things. As the resident researcher at the UNESCO designated World Heritage site, she is leading the way with innovative research into an ancient past. She joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life Magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to discuss the particulars of Poverty Point...  Oh yes, we will also discover how the site got that strange name...
32:29
December 3, 2020
Episode 16: Traiteurs – The Traditions of Plants and Prayers for Healing
There are two things that many of us might like to have more of “faith” and “healing.” Mary Perrin can provide both. Perrin is a traiteuse, the Acadian equivalent of a faith healer. Working with herbs, plants and prayer traiteurs look to cure maladies. Perrin is also the Chairperson of the Jardin des traiteurs located at Vermillionville in Lafayette. She joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer, Kelly Massicot to discuss the particulars of an ancient tradition... Oh yes, we will also discover a berry that seems to have amazing curative powers.
49:09
November 19, 2020
Episode 15: Adventures In Natchitoches – Where the Cane River Reflects the Season and Clementine Hunter, Kate Chopin and Dolly Parton are Part of the History
Natchitoches is one of Louisiana’s most charming towns. It is also the oldest continuing settlement having been discovered by French explorers, even before New Orleans. The region is known for its rich history, including having been the setting for the film “Steel Magnolias.” Folk artist Clementine Hunter learned her craft nearby and Kate Chopin, having married a man from Natchitoches, lived for a while in neighboring Cloutierville,. Kelli West, the Marketing and Communications Director of the Natchitoches Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell the fascinating stories of Natchitoches, the Cane River country and the town's Christmas Festival. Oh yes, we will also discover the origins of the town’s indigenous meat pie.
45:19
November 12, 2020
Episode 14: Living The Chimp Life - A Haven Near Shreveport is a Happy Space for Retired Chimpanzees
Located in Keithville, Chimp Haven is the largest protected area for chimps in the country. Many of the residents were once owned by the federal government for research; others were pets. Now they all live a leisurely life, which everyone can see in the new National Geographic and Disney+ series "Meet The Chimps." Amy Fultz – Chimp Haven’s director of Behavior, Education and Research – joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to tell the fascinating story of the chimps and their behavioral patterns.  Oh yes, we will also discover if there are any favorites in the group.
46:16
November 5, 2020
Episode 13: Les cajuns et l'histoire française de la Louisiane
"The Cajuns and the French History of Louisiana" Warren Perrin might be referred to as a Cajun Activist. The Lafayette Attorney once petitioned Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain asking for a British apology for the deportation of the Acadian people. (The British did not apologize but they acknowledged the incident.) He is one of the foremost authorities on Louisiana’s culture and even operates a related museum in the town of Erath. Perrin joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about Cajun culture, past and present. Oh yes, we will also discover if he thinks that in the long run the Acadians were better off having been relocated in Louisiana.
56:04
October 29, 2020
Episode 12: Capitol Ideas - Reports From The Hospitality Battlefield
By law, the job of the Lieutenant Governor is not only to be ready when needed, but to also oversee the state’s tourism. COVID-19 has dropped many bombs on the industry and this week, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser talks about the twin challenges of rebuilding tourism and, because there are fewer restaurant customers, the seafood industry. Nungesser joins Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the future and survival of Louisiana tourism.  Oh yes, there's more... we will also discover how an industry was built involving used shipping containers.
40:33
October 22, 2020
Episode 11: Brush Strokes – The Art of Louisiana
Louisiana has long inspired the artist finding natural beauty, Kings and Queens, Jazz roots and the passion of many cultures. Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer, Kelly Massicot, join guest John Kemp, art columnist for Louisiana Life magazine, in painting a vivid picture of the state’s art scene.  Oh yes, we will also discover the city that John James Audubon and The Beatles had in common.
41:03
October 15, 2020
Episode 10: Two Towns and a Scenic River
Monroe, Louisiana is the town that put the pop in Coca Cola and is near prehistoric mounds and a crop duster service that turned into a major airline. Monroe and its sister city West Monroe are separated by the Ouachita river that wins accolades for being scenic.  Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer, Kelly Massicot join guest Sheila Snow of the Monroe/West Monroe CVB in discussing the northeast corner of the state.  Oh yes, they WILL talk about how bottling Coke revolutionized an industry.
33:32
October 8, 2020
Episode 9: Of Pirates, Cajuns and Cowboys
Lake Charles is close enough to Texas to the west to have a cowboy influence; close enough to the Atchafalaya to the east to have a Cajun influence and close enough to the swamps to the south to have once been a hangout for pirates. Unfortunately, it is also close enough to have been on the path of Hurricane Laura. This week’s  Louisiana Insider talks about grit and determination in Southwest Louisiana. Our guest is Eric Cormier a former journalist who is now an official of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Alliance. Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer, Kelly Massicot join Cormier in discussing heritage and recovery in Southwest Louisiana. Oh yes, we will talk about the Hackberry Ramblers and about the piles of fish seen along the Creole Nature trail. 
36:50
October 1, 2020
Episode 8: Rock and Blues with a Cajun Accent
He grew up listening to swamp pop music. The only difference was that his Pop was one of the swamp poppers. This week’s Inside Louisiana podcast is a fun romp through the music that echoed across Louisiana during the early days of rock and roll. Historian Shane Bernard has stories to tell not only about his dad, Rod Bernard, but about the music that echoed across Louisiana during the early days of rock and roll. Bernard also has intriguing insights about Cajun and Creole history and about the evolution of the Tabasco empire. This is Louisiana with rhythm and spice. Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot join Bernard in discussing music and heritage of Louisiana. Oh yes, we will also join the debate about the difference between a Cajun and a Creole.
57:45
September 24, 2020
Episode 7: The Clam That Saved Lake Pontchartrain
Several times Lake Pontchartrain has faced serious pollution issues and each time it has survived largely because the lake, when given a chance, has had the ability to cleanse itself. Once closed to public swimming, folks these days are invited to jump it to an amazingly clean body of water. The sea life provides more proof. Carlton Dufrechou knows the lake probably better than anyone. He is the director of the commission that runs the lake-spanning Causeway Bridge and the former director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation – recently rebranded as the Pontchartrain Conservancy. In this week's episode, Errol Laborde, along with producer Kelly Massicot, joins Dufrechou in discussing the lake and its amazing recovery. Oh yes, we will talk about the blue crabs and the manatees, too.
42:04
September 17, 2020
Episode 6: Up The River and Along River Road
There are more legends about life along the Mississippi river than there are curves in its path. (Well, almost as many.) This week’s “Louisiana Insider” podcast examines the legends and the dynamics of the mightiest of rivers. Mary Ann Sternberg, who has written extensively about River Road, is our guest this week. Errol Laborde, executive editor of Louisiana Life Magazine, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot, join Sternberg in discussing the river, its grandeur as well as the plantations and the slavery controversies. Where is the deepest point in the entire Mississippi river? That and other facts are awaiting your discovery.
35:36
September 10, 2020
Episode 5: The Best of What is New, a Look at La Nouvelle Louisiane
The best of what is new in Louisiana is the subject of the latest edition of “Louisiana Insider.” This week Melanie Spencer, managing editor of Louisiana Life Magazine, joins us to celebrate the winners of La Nouvelle Louisiane awards as announced in the September/October edition of Louisiana Life. The magazine selected the best of the new around the state in several categories including events and attractions; craft breweries; chefs, restaurants; museums; outdoor spaces and celebrities. In the year of the quarantine the feature presents insights into the world around us.
41:20
September 3, 2020
Episode 4: Do You Know What It Means? Rambles Through New Orleans
This week, Mark Romig, chief marketing officer for tourism development at New Orleans & Company, joins host Errol Laborde to explore one of the world’s most colorful cities – New Orleans. They talk about the future, tourism, the Saints and Pelicans, traditions, hard times and good and things to do. There are even song interludes including the first commercially recorded jazz record, an Indians chant and Louis Armstrong remembering a favorite street. Romig is also the stadium announcer for Saints games. The broadcast ends with a Saints call that we hope to hear often.
37:41
August 27, 2020
Episode 3: Calling Baton Rouge, a Fun Ramble Through the Capitol City
This week Jeremy Alford, the publisher and editor of LaPolitics Weekly, joins host Errol Laborde to explore the state’s capitol city. They talk about politics, LSU, favorite haunts and things to do. Enjoy songs, stories about Earl and Huey Long are recalled and wicked comments from Mark Twain of why he disliked the old state capital.
37:08
August 20, 2020
Episode 2: Leadbelly, Elvis, Hank and historian Winston Hall take Shreveport
In this week's episode, listeners will hear from Elvis, early blues singer Leadbelly and stories about Hank Williams. The latest episode is about Shreveport, which was once the site of the Louisiana Hayride, a Saturday night country music show in the style of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. Winston Hall, a Shreveport musician and musical historian, brings a clip of the night when 19 year old Elvis Presley made his debut on the Louisiana Hayride, discusses one of Leadbelly’s hits “Midnight Special” and other elements of Shreveport’s history including Sept. 11, 2001 when Air Force One landed at Bossier City’s Barksdale Airforce base so that President George W. Bush, who had been in Florida, could address the nation about that morning’s terrorist attacks. --- Winston Hall is a Shreveport-based piano entertainer and music history enthusiast who performs live more than 300 times a year. In his spare time, he is a tireless advocate for Northwest Louisiana's incredible music history.
01:02:49
August 13, 2020
Episode 1: Explore Lafayette with travel writer Cheré Coen
In the first episode of "Louisiana Insider," Errol Laborde and Cheré Coen travel to Lafayette, Louisiana. There's music, food and a whole lot of history! -- Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning journalist and author living in Lafayette, Louisiana. A native of New Orleans, Cheré began her career in communications at the 1984 World’s Fair. She has worked for or currently writes for Variety magazine in Hollywood, TravelAge West magazine, AAA Southern Traveler, Country Roads magazine of Baton Rouge, Dreamscape of Canada and Renaissance Publishing of New Orleans, among many other publications and international blogs such as Forbes. In addition to being a freelance travel and food writer, she pens the weekly Weird, Wacky and Wild South blog and contributes to Travel the South Bloggers. Her fiction includes the “The Cajun Series” of historical romances, “The Cajun Embassy” series of contemporary romances and the “Viola Valentine” paranormal mystery series under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Her nonfiction books include “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana” by The History Press; the cookbook travelogue “Cooking in Cajun Country” with “Cajun” Karl Breaux (2009, Gibbs Smith Publishing) and “Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets,” with Jude Bradley (2010, Llewellyn).
34:08
August 5, 2020