Featured Locals

Check back for more featured locals, coming soon!

Speakers and Hosts


Richard Campanella

Richard Campanella has been lauded for his unparalleled knowledge of New Orleans. In fact, he’s the only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award. A geographer with the Tulane School of Architecture and author of over 150 articles and nine critically acclaimed books on the city, Richard is happy to share his insight across all media platforms and was voted New Orleans’ "Most Informative Twitter Account" in 2014.

Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano of Tulane University

Wayne Curtis

Wayne Curtis is a contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine and a freelance journalist. He’s written about travel, architecture, and cocktail culture for various publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, and Saveur, to name a few. He’s the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails, and The Last Great Walk, about an elderly man’s New York to San Francisco walk in 1909, and why it matters today. He lives in New Orleans and Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

Lolis Eric Elie

Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans native who chronicles the food, history, and culture of the city. A former columnist for The Times-Picayune, Lolis has written for the HBO series Treme and published two books, Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. The PBS documentary he co-produced with Dawn Logsdon, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Rien Fertel

Rien Fertel is a Louisiana-born and -based writer, historian, and teacher, who grew up washing dishes and bussing tables in his family’s chain of restaurants. He’s the author of two books, Imagining the Creole City, a literary history of New Orleans, and The One True Barbecue, a travelogue/personal reflection on race, labor, and foodways in the Deep South (coming soon). Rien’s work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, and dozens of other print and online publications.


Michael Gulotta

Named one of Food & Wine’s 2016 “Best New Chefs in America” Michael Gulotta is Chef/Co-owner of Maypop and MOPHO in New Orleans. The talented toque, former Chef de Cuisine of John Besh’s Restaurant August and former contestant on Iron Chef Gauntlet, is revered for his signature Southeast Asian-meets-Southern Louisiana cuisine. Gulotta remains deeply connected to his city and home, working with farmers, fishermen and foragers to create sustainable restaurants.


Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is a culinary historian and considered one of the preeminent scholars of the food of the African Diaspora. She lectures internationally and holds a PhD from NYU. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence, and The New Yorker, and she has been profiled in The New York Times. Dr. Harris has been inducted into the James Beard Who's Who in Food and Beverage in America, received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, and recently helped the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria. She is the author of 12 cookbooks on the food of the African Diaspora.

Photo Credit John Pinderhughes


Brett Martin

Brett Martin is a Correspondent and Chief Food Critic for GQ Magazine, a two-time James Beard Award winner and a six-time selectee of the annual Best Food Writing anthology. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, the New York Times and The New Yorker, among others, and on public radio’s This American Life.

Alexa Pulitzer

Alexa Pulitzer is highly sought out for her custom stationery and private label collections, inspired by native New Orleans culture. For over 20 years, her company has manufactured its products in the U.S. and has become one of New Orleans’ proudest exports. Always seeking to give back, Alexa currently serves as a goodwill ambassador to the city and offered her services, pro bono, to rebrand the Office of Recovery & Development. Most recently, she was asked to design a logo for the New Orleans 300th Anniversary celebration in 2018.

Mark C. Romig

Mark C. Romig is the President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency, and the President and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation, the support arm for the city’s 2018 Tricentennial Commission. Always striving to give back to his hometown, Mark is also involved in numerous charitable endeavors, including the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and the Fore!Kids Foundation, to name a few. You may even recognize Mark’s voice—he’s currently the stadium announcer for the New Orleans Saints.


Matt Sakakeeny

Matt Sakakeeny is well versed in music, race, and power in New Orleans and brings an anthropological perspective to sound studies. As Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University and board member and proud supporter of Roots of Music, Matt strives to extend his musical expertise to the city’s youth through education and mentorship. Matt is also a community activist, the author of numerous articles and the book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans, and the bandleader and guitarist of Los Po-Boy-Citos.

Poppy Tooker

Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table. A celebrated culinary teacher (Food & Wine praised her “fascinating culinary wisdom”) and award-winning author (New Orleans Magazine named The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook “Cookbook of the Year”), Poppy somehow finds time to host a weekly NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! Poppy has also been instrumental in reviving endangered foods and food traditions in NOLA and is celebrated for her work reviving restaurants and food providers following Hurricane Katrina.