2017 TOPS OF ACADIANA
select photographs by denny culbert
Person of the Year
The night before Nic Hunter was sworn in as Lake Charles’ first new mayor in 17 years, he and his wife stayed in and play board games. Monopoly and Scattergories, specifically. Nic got crushed in both. Never fear, though, fine citizens of Lake Charles; your new mayor has done plenty of winning in life and plans to take his experience as a successful small-business owner and apply it to this civic office. Given Hunter’s track record, the western jewel of Acadiana should “pass go” for years to come. nicformayor.com - W.K.
Smooth, rolling greens provide a serene setting for golfers of all skill levels. Golf pros are on-site to help you get better at the driving range. Plus, there’s a bar and grill that’s perfect for lunch or a drink after 18 holes.
2129 North University Ave. Lafayette | wetlandsgc.org
Troy Bijeaux of Cafe Josephine
How dedicated was chef Troy Bijeaux to turning Café Josephine into a Cajun culinary destination? Well, he didn’t lease the building. He bought the building. Ever since, he’s been creating some of the best traditional Cajun food anywhere in Acadiana. That success has made Chef Troy a bit of a local celeb, as he frequently partakes in the Eat Lafayette campaign and often gives cooking demonstrations for morning TV segments. - W.K.
Chicory's & Rêve Coffee Lab
We have a tie! It’s hard to imagine a more quaint, cozy gathering space than Chicory’s in Grand Coteau. It’s under the only red light on Martin Luther King Drive in the heart of town and has great sandwiches and smoothies. Chicory’s, 219 East M.L.K. Drive, Grand Coteau, 337-886-5770. At Rêve Coffee Lab (formerly The Lab, until taken over recently by Rêve Coffee Roasters), every bean is roasted in the company’s own micro roaster. Aside from making delicious coffee, the staff makes recommendations on how to make your own best brew. Rêve Coffee Lab, 1042 Camellia Blvd., No. 6, Lafayette, 337-889-5782, revecoffeeroasters.com. - F.E.
The guy might have two first names, but when it comes to news in Acadiana, Joe Sam is the last word. Wait, scratch that. He’s actually the first word, considering he anchors KLAF’s morning show. The point is, Joe Sam and news are synonymous. He also has a ridiculously impressive wardrobe, evidenced by his bright ensembles that dwarf the shine of the morning sun. Don’t believe us? Tune in and see for yourself.- W.K.
This culinary jewel in Sunset is where cow meets Cajun, which makes sense considering the place was a meat market before a restaurant. Known for serving “Food With An Attitude,” Café Josephine’s menu is pleasantly surprising and unexpected. With that said, the place is known for their steaks, especially when patrons order them with lump crabmeat, lobster butter and claws, or even crawfish etouffee on top.
818 Napoleon Ave. Sunset | 337-662-0008 | cafejosephinesunset.com
Dianna Rae Jewelry
When you’re looking for that perfect engagement or wedding ring for the love of your life, you want it to be special. At Dianna Rae, customers can design their own rings to give them a personal flavor.
500 Settlers Trace Blvd. No. 1 Lafayette | diannaraejewelry.com
Golden Nugget Lake Charles
If you want Vegas-style gaming that’s a short drive away, check out the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. Over 1,600 slots, 79 table games, and six live-action poker tables are there for you to try your luck. 550 Golden Nugget Blvd., Lake Charles, goldennugget.com/lake-charles - F.E.
Did you know Chubby Carrier is a published author? It’s true and his book is entitled, “Who Stole the Hot Sauce?” Heck if we know Chubby, but while we figure out this condiment caper, we’ll take a break and shake our moneymakers to your wicked, self-proclaimed “swamp funky zydeco” Grammy-Award winning sound. Though he’s been touring for more than 25 years, Chubby shows no signs of slowing down, as his performance calendar is booked from now until the end of the year with local and national gigs. chubbycarrier.com - W.K.
Place to Hear Live Music
Rhythms on the River
Music is good for the soul, and free music is even better. Every spring and fall, Acadiana dances to the beat of this six-week concert series, which has featured Chee-Weez and Louisiana Red. Food, drinks, music, and fun. 1100 Camellia Blvd., Lafayette, facebook.com/rhythmsontheriver - F.E.
Landry’s (New Iberia)
Some days, you’re in the mood for Cajun food; on other days you might want a steak or seafood. Acadiana Profile readers want both in one place and picked Landry’s, with renowned chef Alex Patout. Friday and Saturday nights feature Landry’s Grand Buffet with live Cajun music. landryscajunrestaurant.com - F.E.
This beauty of a B&B, built in 1827 along Bayou Teche under the “Evangeline Oak,” is on the National Register of Historic Homes. All seven rooms feature period antiques and balconies. The breakfast includes beignets, bacon and homemade cafe au lait. 20 Evangeline Blvd., St Martinville, oldcastillo.com - F.E.
No other news station in southwest Louisiana features an on-air crew as trusted and talented as the crew at KATC. At 5, 6 and 10 p.m., Jim Hummel and Marcelle Fontenot (a former Tops of Acadiana winner) anchor the broadcasts. Rob Perillo heads Storm Team 3, along with colleagues Daniel Phillips and Eric Zernich. When you wake up, Tracy Wirtz (another former Tops winner) Dave Baker and Scott Brazda open our eyes during “Good Morning Acadiana.” - W.K.
Nunu’s in Maurice
This year, the most spirited (and spicy) Tops category goes to a link that UL professor and boudin expert Robert Carriker called “decidedly rich in flavor, reminiscent of the way locals have been eating boudin for generations.” Nunu’s boudin has a unique texture – one bite might be meat and rice, another might be “fat and a bit of liver.” As Carriker says, “If that scares you then you shouldn’t be eating boudin in the first place.” Amen.
309 East Lafayette St. Maurice | 337-898-3355 | nunus.com
When you need some pampering, Spa Mizan offers Acadiana residents a variety of indulgent spa services, including aromatherapy, massages, shampoo and styling, manis and pedis and day packages. There’s even a “create your own spa package” to customize your experience.
2319 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette | spamizan.com
Hilliard University Art Museum
Located at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, this museum connects art and education. Students sketch on-site and artists talk to visitors about their work. The permanent collection has 18th- through 21st-century European, Asian, and American works of art. 710 East St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette, hilliardmuseum.org - F.E.
The brainchild of siblings Molly and Katy Richard, the Taco Sisters have taken their Johnston Street show on the road with Acadiana’s can’t-miss food truck. Usually parked in front of energy companies or large medical facilities, the Taco Sisters food truck features the same staples as its popular brick and mortar, like their famous fish tacos and the smoked and smothered brisket burritos. Wondering where this freshness on four wheels is rolling today? Check the truck’s page at facebook.com/tacosistersmobileairstream - W.K.
Ricki O’Brien has been dressing her customers for over 20 years. She started at Abdalla’s and then opened her own place, Ricki’s Boutique in New Iberia, which has been going strong for the last 19 years. Aside from personal service, you’ll find Vera Bradley shoes and fashions from Karen Kane, Ruby Yaya and Johnny Was. 1000 Parkview Drive, New Iberia, 337-367-5040 - F.E.
Blame it on the rain…but don’t say Rob Perillo didn’t warn you. Frankly, Perillo’s dominance in this TOPS category is causing us to dig deep into our musical vault of songs that contain weather references. Last year, the musical “Annie.” This year, Milli Vanilli. Next year? Who knows? That’s our problem though, Rob. You just go on and keep doing your thing — which is informing us of whether we’ll need a jacket this weekend, or sticking with us for hours and hours during storm coverage. - W.K.
Your furry friends are family, and they deserve the best. You voted for them to get it at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in New Iberia, where the caring staff provides surgical, dental, and preventive medical treatments for dogs, cats, horses, and exotic animals. They also have care guides to educate owners. 220 North Lewis St., New Iberia, AllCreatures.VetStreet.com - F.E.
No doubt, the folks at Great Harvest got their bread up. No, not because money is on their mind. Meals are on their mind! Sporting a menu packed with a bevy of sandwiches, patrons at Great Harvest have a deliciously difficult decision when it comes to picking which two slices of bread to slap meat and veggies between. On Mondays alone, Great Harvest freshly bakes nine different kinds of bread, including Cinnamon Burst Extreme and Cracked Pepper Parmesan.
854 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette | 337-236-8966 | greatharvestofacadiana.com
Marcello’s Wine Market
A wide selection of wines for people of different tastes and budgets compelled readers to cast votes for Marcello’s. If you want to be a little more adventurous and make your own drinks, Marcello’s also sells home brewing and wine-making supplies.
340 Kaliste Saloom Suite C Lafayette | marcelloswine.com
Artmosphere is a watering hole, grill, art gallery, and music venue all rolled into one. There’s live music every night and if you want to wow your friends with your singing, Tuesday’s karaoke night! The food includes ingredients from Artmosphere’s own garden. 902 Johnston St., Lafayette, artmosphere.vpweb.com - F.E.
Bayou Teche Brewing
Beer’s a family affair at Bayou Teche Brewing. The Knott brothers dreamed of making beers that would pair well with Cajun cuisine. Now they make those beers with family at the family property — which includes covered and open outdoor seating, a stage for live music and an event space — on the banks of the brewery’s namesake waterway. Ragin’ Cajun Ale is the favorite among readers. 1106 Bushville Hwy, Arnaudville, bayoutechebrewing.com - F.E.
Special Events Space
City Club at River Ranch
If you want to make a birthday, anniversary, wedding or family reunion more special, there’s no better place than City Club. Whether you need a large room for 400 guests or smaller rooms for more intimate gatherings, City Club has it. 1100 Camellia Blvd., #202, Lafayette, cityclubatriverranch.com - F.E.
Dinner at iMonelli is a memory as much as it is a meal. A complete contrast to the rise of menu service apps and eating on the go, iMonelli remains an old-school Italian restaurant, the perfect place to take a date, order a few bottles of wine, and actually strike up a deep conversation. The dining area is lit to spark romance and the menu options range from classic to creative. 4017 Johnston St. Lafayette, 337-989-9291- W.K.
Since 1991, this New-Englander-by-birth, Cajun-by-choice has been the familiar radio voice of UL Athletics, broadcasting football, men’s basketball and baseball in addition to his Monday through Friday sports talk show on KPEL 1420 AM. From football bowl games, NCAA Tournament berths in basketball, to trips to the College World Series; Jay Walker has seen it all…and tells everyone about it. - W.K.
DJ Digital at Hot 107
Don’t let the name fool you. DJ Digital is flesh and blood. How can be so sure? Well, he professes to loving music, vinyl records, shoes and bacon. There’s your proof! Computers and robots don’t have feet and they damn sure don’t eat hot, sizzling, crispy pork. Speaking of heat, that’s what DJ Digital brings to the airwaves in buckets from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. every weekday, mixing edgy banter with fresh hip-hop and R&B. - W.K.
It takes a village…wait, no it doesn’t. It just takes one hungry, ambitious and determined eater to polish off a pie from either Pizza Village’s Moss Street or Kaliste Saloom locations. Not surprisingly, all the standards appear on the menu. There’s a meat-eater’s pizza, a veggie pizza and a “works” pizza with everything. But if you’re looking for a recommendation, order a Landry Special – that’s pepperoni, ground beef, shrimp, onion and jalapeno – and thank us later.
1935 Moss St. Lafayette | 337-232-1418
2340 Kaliste Saloom Road Lafayette | 337-706-8644pizza-village.com
Favorite Medical Professional
Kevin Duplechain MD
Miles Perret Cancer Center Games of Acadiana