455 episodes

OUT TO LUNCH finds economist and Tulane finance professor Peter Ricchiuti conducting business New Orleans style: over lunch at Commander’s Palace restaurant. In his 9th year in the host seat, Ricchiuti’s learned but uniquely NOLA informal perspective has established Out to Lunch as the voice of Crescent City business. You can also hear the show on WWNO 89.9FM.

It's New Orleans: Out to Lunch itsneworleans.com

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    • 4.8 • 25 Ratings

OUT TO LUNCH finds economist and Tulane finance professor Peter Ricchiuti conducting business New Orleans style: over lunch at Commander’s Palace restaurant. In his 9th year in the host seat, Ricchiuti’s learned but uniquely NOLA informal perspective has established Out to Lunch as the voice of Crescent City business. You can also hear the show on WWNO 89.9FM.

    Rollin' On The River

    Rollin' On The River

    The Americans With Disabilities Act became law in 1990. It prohibits discrimination based on any kind of impairment, and mandates provision of access to public places for people in wheelchairs.

    You may have noticed that over the past few years the city of New Orleans has been updating sidewalks to provide wheelchair access at intersections, so people in a wheelchair can do something as simple as cross the street. That’s a definite step forward, but other than the street you live on, wherever you go in a wheelchair, you have to get there somehow.

    If you drive or have someone who can drive you, you’re good. If you can’t drive, you can always get an Uber or Lyft, right? Well, not exactly. Because there are so few Wheelchair Access Vehicles, if you’re in a wheelchair getting an Uber or Lyft is mostly an exercise in frustration.

    That’s why Irell Warren created WE LIFT Rideshare. It’s a rideshare company specifically for people in wheelchairs. WE LIFT works like other rideshares, with its own app. And it’s available in every one of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

    If you wander along the 2,340 miles of the Mississippi River, from New Orleans to Minneapolis Minnesota, you’re going to see a lot of tug boats pushing barges.

    Here’s some interesting facts about those river barges: When it comes to dry goods - like bananas or coal - a single barge carries the same amount of cargo as 70 semi-trailer trucks. And for liquid cargo, like oil, a single barge carries the equivalent of 144 semi-trailers.

    As well as this efficiency, the marine transportation industry claims the nation’s waterways provide the safest and most environmentally friendly mode of transportation in the country.

    Commercial river traffic is officially known by the slightly oxymoronic term, “inland marine transport,” and here in New Orleans it’s big business. One of the biggest, local, inland marine companies is Blessey Marine Services. They operate 85 tugboats, 175 barges, and employ around 750 people. The President and CEO of Blessey Marine Services is Clark Todd.

    Irell's rideshare company is a rare convergence of doing good and good business.  And Clark's company, moving goods on our waterways, although not without its own challenges, is certainly good business. These businesses are at very different stages of development. Clark's company has a reach way beyond its New Orleans roots, and Irell's company is growing in that direction.

    Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at itsneworleans.com

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    Weights and Waiters

    Weights and Waiters

    All of us occasionally grapple with the existential human question, “Why am I here?” In those moments, to ascribe some sort of relevance to our presence on earth, we might aggrandize the importance of our occupation. 

    For example, try this. Wherever you are right now, pick a random object. Now make an argument for why it’s the most vital element of human society. If you’re in a room, you could pick a chair. If we couldn’t sit down - to rest, or work at a desk – life as we know it would be impossible. So, if you make chairs for a living, you could say you’re absolutely vital to the perpetuation of human society.

    If you’re in a car, there’s a bolt that attaches your steering wheel to the steering column.  And there are a series of bolts that attach your wheels to their hubs. Without these bolts, we wouldn’t have a transportation vehicle of any type. So, a person who works on a machine manufacturing bolts can say their occupation is absolutely vital to the perpetuation of human society.

    You see how this goes. You can pick pretty much anything. Even with that in mind, Bobby Feigler has a pretty good claim to actually being central to the existence of our economic system. Bobby is Vice President and General Manager of Michelli Weighing And Measurement.


    Almost everything in our world is weighed. Structural elements of buildings have load-bearing weight. Most of the food we eat is sold by weight. Then there’s gold, silver, and your own body mass index. 

    Scales that reliably and accurately weigh things are essential for almost every aspect of our lives. Michelli Weighing and Measurement calibrates and regulates scales. The company was founded in Louisiana in 1947. It’s still headquartered here, in Harahan. Today it employs over 150 people, and services 11 states in the South and West of the US.


    In the game of “What’s most vital to human existence?” we don’t have to do any mental gymnastics to agree on “food.” We all need to eat.

    Almost every human civilization has given specific people the role of preparing meals for the rest of us. In our case, we’ve created specialty eating locations, called “restaurants.” However, because our society is built on a foundation of commerce, operating a restaurant is not just a matter of being able to prepare food people like to eat. It also requires the ability to run a business.

    To be financially successful, a restaurant needs as many as 20 people in office and corporate positions. Most restaurants simply can’t afford that kind of investment in personnel. And that’s why Elizabeth Tilton created a company called Oyster Sunday.

    Oyster Sunday is a specialty corporate team that provides expert business skills for independent restaurants. They’ve been around since 2019 and have clients from Los Angeles to New York, from DC to their home here in New Orleans, and as far afield as Tokyo.

    You may have heard this statistic: the world is divided into two kinds of people. Those who believe the world is divided into two kinds of people; and the rest. The point is, it’s not all that helpful to simplify the world by broad-stroke categorization.

    But, at least in business, there is one such observation that is worth noting. And that is the distinction between what we see, and what we don’t. 

    When we go to a restaurant, we see people making and serving meals. What we don’t see is the equally important team of people in the back office. Elizabeth Tilton has come up with a way to provide restaurants with a corporate team that lets owners and chefs concentrate on what we see, and what they do best. And Bobby Feigler's business provides the most significant contribution imaginable to commerce that most of us never see.

    It’s nice to be able to meet and acknowledge people who are normally out of the spotlight. Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find Photos from t

    • 30 min
    High Above New Orleans

    High Above New Orleans

    In September 2022, Apple announced the release of the iPhone 14. Since the creation of the iPhone in 2007, Apple has been responsible for almost every major innovation in cellular communication. Patents notwithstanding, these innovations almost always find their way onto other operating systems. So, what starts out on the iPhone ends up on every phone.

    Apple’s iPhone 14 innovation is the addition of satellite service. Gone are the days of your phone not working while you’re at sea, when you’re hiking in Nepal, or out on your tractor in rural Louisiana. For millions of people worldwide out of the range of cell towers, this is a major development. It’s also a revolutionary life-saver for people who find themselves in danger someplace remote and need emergency medical or rescue services.

    You might think Apple would turn to SpaceX to provide this kind of global satellite service. But they didn’t. They turned to a telecommunications and satellite company called Thermo/Globalstar. Thermo/Globalstar is headquartered in Covington, Louisiana. The Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the company is Jay Monroe.

    Wherever you go in the world, you’ll never find anyplace quite like New Orleans.  However, because New Orleans is flat, the only way you get a bird’s-eye view of what our expansive city looks like is if you happen to be in someone’s office in one of the downtown high-rise buildings, like Place St Charles or Canal Place.

    In that case, you’re probably there to see an attorney, so you’re probably not in a frame of mind to be gazing out the window enjoying the view. Here’s some good news. You can now enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city of New Orleans without worrying about running up billable hours.

    Vue Orleans is an observation deck on the 33rd and 34th floors of the Four Season’s Hotel. On the 34th floor you’re outside. On the roof. Inside, on the 33rd floor, you can interact with a series of high-tech installations that recreate experiences that are unique to New Orleans.

    Vue Orleans is part of the transformation of the World Trade Center into the Four Seasons Hotel.  This transformation was designed and built by Woodward Design and Build, one of the largest design and construction companies in the Gulf South. The President and CEO of Woodward Design and Build is Paul Flower.

    It seems like ever since humans started walking on earth we’ve looked up and wished we could fly like birds. To experience the freedom of flight. But also to see what they see from up there.

    For centuries, in lieu of flying we climbed to the highest point we could get to. And we often built fortifications, and even whole villages there.

    While our ancestors were scaling hilltops, they were communicating with each other over the greatest distances they could with all kinds of innovations, from drumming to carrier pigeons.

    The point we’ve reached today is extraordinary. Satellite cellphone technology makes it possible for a person in even the most remote location on earth to communicate with anybody anywhere. What’s equally amazing is that this final frontier has been crossed by technology created in Covington Louisiana.

    While you’re pondering Covington-powered radio waves bouncing through the heavens, you can go from 5 feet below sea level up 34 floors in an elevator and look down on the city below, at Vue Orleans in the Four Seasons Hotel Building.

    It's enlightening to even just scratch the surface of everything you’re Jay Monroe and Paul Flower are up to.

    Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at itsneworleans.com
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    The Birthplace of Work/Life Balance

    The Birthplace of Work/Life Balance

    People who come to New Orleans as visitors often spend most of their time in the French Quarter and pack their stay with excessive indulgence. They start drinking way earlier in the day than they do at home. They stay out way later at night than they do at home. And they eat meal after meal of New Orleans’ specialty dishes, laden with cream, butter, and fried everything.

    If you talk to any of these folks on their way out of town, they’ll typically look at you with the kind of reverence normally reserved for endurance sports champions, and say something like, “Man, I don’t know how you live here.”

    We who live here tend to respond with the explanation that the French Quarter is filled tourists. Locals don’t eat, drink and party like that. 

    Have you been to Arnaud’s restaurant in the French Quarter? They’ve been there since 1918 and built their reputation on serving a vast menu of French Creole fine dining - including 9 different oyster appetizers, 51 seafood entrees, 40 different vegetable sides, including 16 different types of potatoes.

    Arnaud’s is massive. It’s an amalgamation of what was originally 13 different buildings. There’s a jazz bistro, two bars, and the main dining room seats 950 people. Yes, 950.

    And here’s the kicker. The place is typically packed. With locals. Don’t tell your tourist friends who you’re trying to impress that you live an upright, healthy lifestyle, but there’s more than a good chance you or someone you know has plans to go to Arnaud’s - for a rehearsal dinner, a wedding, or just because it’s Friday.

    Since 1918 Arnaud’s has been owned and run by two families. First the family of the founder and namesake, Arnaud Cazenave, and since 1978 by members of the Casbarian family. The current Casbarians are brother and sister Archie Jr and Katie, and their mom Jane.

    French Creole fine dining is all well and good, but you can’t eat like that every day. And especially if you’re an athlete. Not just a professional athlete. Anyone who takes fitness seriously also takes their diet seriously.

    If you’re a professional athlete, you have access to dietitians and nutritionists who craft specific meal plans for you - to maximize your strengths, and help bolster any deficiencies you might naturally have. For the rest of us, here’s some good news. You no longer have to figure out your sports diet on Google. You can download an app called Eat 2 Win, the product of a company called My Sports Dietitian.

    My Sports Dietitian is set up to give everyone in sports – from high school coaches to individual amateur athletes – the same access to specialized dietary and nutrition advice the pros get.

    The co-founder of My Sports Dietitian and the Eat 2 Win app is Ronnie Harper.

    We hear a lot these days about work/life balance. The acknowledgement that there’s more to life than work and money. The point being, if you want to be happy, you need to prioritize happiness.

    Apparently, the rest of the country just figured out what we’ve known for generations in New Orleans. It’s part of the reason living here is so attractive. And so different from anywhere else in the US. We don’t think there’s anything strange about wearing a costume, or going to work on Monday morning and partying with our boss and colleagues at The Maple Leaf on Monday night.

    Similarly, we accept as matter of fact that we can live a healthy life, subscribe to a sports diet from My Sports Dietitian, and occasionally indulge ourselves with dinner and drinks at Arnaud’s without having a melt-down guilt trip about it.

    Because, in New Orleans, that’s life. In any other city Archie Casbarian Jr, and Ronnie Harper might be regarded as being at opposite ends of the spectrum. In New Orleans, they’re two sides of a coin. Probably a doubloon.

    Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at itsneworleans.

    • 39 min


    In New Orleans, we’re big on tradition. We believe that doing things the same way they’ve been done for generations keeps us connected to our history and maintains the grandness of the city that our forebears created.

    But there’s a difference between tradition and habit. That difference can be knowledge. 

    For example, in the 1950’s if you, your parents, and grandparents all smoked cigarettes, you might have called yourselves “a traditional tobacco family.” Now that we know smoking is the cause of seriously life-limiting medical conditions, you’d be more apt to describe that family as having a bad smoking habit.

    Which brings us to Mardi Gras. Wait, what? If you’ve lived in New Orleans for any time and you go to Mardi Gras parades, you’ve probably caught or thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of Mardi Gras beads. Mostly manufactured in China, these plastic beads are allegedly made from unregulated petroleum products and reportedly contain unhealthful levels of lead, arsenic, and other chemicals you don’t want your kids anywhere near.

    Are Mardi Gras Beads as bad for you as cigarettes?!

    We put that question to Brett Davis. And we're betting you can guess the answer. Brett is Director of an organization called Grounds Krewe. Grounds Krewe’s mission is to make New Orleans events  sustainable by diminishing waste and instituting recycling wherever possible. When it comes to Mardi Gras, Grounds Krewe’s aim is to get us to replace plastic beads - and other toxic throws - with sustainable throws that are local, healthful, and as affordable as the ubiquitous, Chinese, plastic beads.

    Now let’s move on to another mainstay of the New Orleans economy in which there’s a blurred line between tradition and habit: the music business.

    The traditional way the music business is structured in New Orleans tends to financially benefit purveyors of alcohol more than the creators and performers of music. That’s because we have a very robust live music culture that’s centered mostly in bars. Unlike other music-centric cities - like Nashville and Austin - we don’t have a similarly robust allied music economy.

    If you’re a New Orleanian and you want a high-level career as a music business attorney, agent, manager, song writer or recording artist, you’re in the same position locals in other businesses were in till recently. That is, you have to leave New Orleans. Think about that for a moment. You live in a city people come to specifically to hear music. But to be truly successful in the music business you have to leave.

    This tradition has been going on for some time. Louis Armstrong left New Orleans to make it. So did Lil Wayne. Winton Marsalis. Jon Batiste. Evan Christopher. Harry Connick Jr. Davell Crawford. Nicholas Payton. No Limit Records left. Cash Money Records left. Daniel Lanois, Lenny Kravitz, Trent Reznor, and Ray Davies from The Kinks all moved their music operations here, then left.

    You could argue that Winton Marsalis had to leave here for his prestigious job as Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Jon Batiste had to leave here to be music director on The Tonight Show. But that’s the whole point. We’re the birthplace of jazz but we don’t have a jazz institute. And we don’t have the infrastructure a national TV show needs to originate from here.

    At what point do we go from regarding this talent-emigration as a tradition, to calling it a habit - and do something about breaking it?

    Best-selling songwriter Jim McCormick knows as much as anybody about finding an answer to this question. Jim is a New Orleans native who left. He went to Nashville for 15 years. Then he came back.

    Jim has written a string of hit songs for artists like Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Brantley Gilbert, and many more. He's been nominated for a Grammy 5 times. He’s had 3 songs hit number one on the Billboard country chart. And he’s done much of that while living in Orleans parish.


    • 27 min


    If you have a business that depends on sales, you can try and sell everything to everybody, like Walmart.  But seeing there’s almost no way on earth you can compete with Walmart, you need to come up with a more niche approach.

    Having a unique product and finding people who need it is the pathway to success. Supply and demand. Simple enough, right? Well, it might have been, when that meant opening a store on main street. Or buying an ad in the Yellow Pages. (If you’re under 40 you’re going to have to Google “yellow pages” - and even then it probably won’t make sense.)

    My lunch guests today are both in fields that have been upended by technology: photography, and book sales.

    Amazon rewrote the rules on how people buy books. And the smart-phone and Instagram have turned everybody into a photographer. Within these crowded spaces, both of my guests, Olivia Grey Pritchard and Candice Huber, have successfully carved out their own markets.

    Candice is the owner of Tubby & Coo’s MidCity Bookshop. It’s been around since 2014. If you’re saying, “What? I live in New Orleans and I’ve never heard of it,” it might just mean you don’t read the kind of books they sell.

    Tubby & Coo’s describe themselves as a “Local, queer-owned, progressive, nerdy, independent bookshop focused on science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, queer, and diverse books”.

    We’ve talked here before about how the career of professional photographer has been battered by the extraordinary number of amateur photographers in the world – everybody who owns a cell phone – and the ease with which photographers’ work is stolen off the internet.

    Olivia Grey Pritchard has figured out a way to succeed as a photographer in this tough environment. Part of Olivia’s success is centered on educating other photographers on how to run a successful photography business. She teaches online classes and conducts mentoring sessions for professional photographers.

    And in her own photography work, Olivia delivers more than just digital files of photos. If you hire Olivia to be your photographer, you end up with a piece of framed wall art, an archival-quality photo album, or a unique family movie.

    As a consumer, it’s frustrating to look for something you want, and not be able to find it. Since the Covid pandemic gave rise to an inexplicable labor shortage, and choked supply chains, almost everybody has had a taste of this kind of frustration.

    But for some people, this frustration has been going on for a lot longer.

    If you’re a person who has a particular taste in books and you can never find quite what you’re looking for, Tubby & Coo’s MidCity Bookshop is a refreshing oasis.

    And, in a world where we’re bombarded by images that only last a fraction of a second before we swipe or scroll them away forever, being able to have a photo of your family, yourself, or even your dog, that’s good enough to frame and hang on your wall is equally refreshing.

    Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at itsneworleans.com

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

Thurnis Rollie ,

Great way to learn about the city

Always entertaining and interesting guests that cover all aspects of business.

DouglasRyan ,

Always Entertaining

Peter Ricchiuti is a popular business professor at Tulane University who founded the Burkenroad Report. More importantly for podcast listeners, he is always entertaining, no matter the subject matter. Each week he entertains successful entrepreneurs over lunch at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. He is witty, creative and informative and his podcast rarely disappoints. New Orleans is a hotbed of entrepreneurship and startups, and Peter’s podcast shines a light on all the good things going on there.

EnzoNola ,

changing face of new orleans

hard to believe this show comes out of NO. Reminds me of the kind of entrepreneur tales from years ago in NYC or SiliconV. but with total New Orleans treatment - irreverent and fun with tons of personality tho manages to be NPR quality. it's actually on WWNO the NPR station in NO

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