Ian McNulty

Producer

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat. 

Ian is also a staff writer for the daily newspaper the New Orleans Advocate, covering the culture, personality and trends behind the city’s famous dining scene.

He is the author of two books - “Louisiana Rambles: Exploring America’s Cajun and Creole Heartland,” a travel narrative about south Louisiana culture, and “A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina,” an account of the first months in the city after Hurricane Katrina.

He has been a contributor to WWNO since 2009.

Ian McNulty

The cafe tables were empty at Loretta’s Authentic Pralines down in Faubourg Marigny and the display cases up front were barren. But in back, Loretta Harrison and her crew had the kitchen humming. Another batch of pralines bubbled in a copper kettle. The homey aroma of sweet potato pies in the oven filled the air. Harrison wore a pink facemask and a dusting of flour on her apron as she rolled more dough for the next round of pecan pies.

Ian McNulty

In Louisiana, we know our food has a narrative power in addition to its nourishing one, because it flows through families and is tied to place. It’s never more potent than when everything else has been kicked away. Many of us learned this on the long road back from Hurricane Katrina.

Today, our food can be the story that connects hard times with better times, and times ahead. We are all writing a new chapter in that story right now.

Ian McNulty

No one does Thanksgiving like Louisiana. It starts with the familiar framework - turkey, pie, bourbon, family politics. But to that we add so much from our own culture, our unabating obsession with the table. Because this is 2020 though, even this feast will be different. A holiday of togetherness and gratitude can’t escape feelings of separation and loss from the pandemic.

Ian McNulty

I learned long ago to bring an ice chest whenever I’m driving around Louisiana because of course so many routes are dotted with great butcher shops. It’s fun to stock up with smoked meats and special treats for home. Lately, I’ve been learning a lot more along the Andouille Trail - a circuit of markets, shops and restaurants around the River Parishes.

Ian McNulty

Before the pandemic, visitors flocked to Willie Mae’s to try this Treme restaurant’s famous fried chicken. It seemed like there was always a line for tables.

Since Willie Mae’s reopened in the pandemic, locals long acquainted with that chicken can usually walk right in and sit down.

There’s a mix of gratitude for the local support here, and anxiety for when more business might return. That about sums up where many restaurants stand right now.

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