RIP, Paul Prudhomme: TV chef popularized Cajun and Creole cuisine, invented turducken

Chef Paul Prudhomme. photo: shutterstock

If it weren't for Chef Paul Prudhomme, we wouldn't have turducken, and Cajun/Creole cuisine would not have become the global sensation it is today. When the charismatic television chef popularized blackened redfish, it became such an obsession the species nearly went extinct.

Chef Paul

Prudhomme died today, at 75. His restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, confirmed the news to CNN, and said he died after a “brief illness,” the nature of which was not further specified.

If you read only one obituary, make it his hometown paper: The New Orleans Times-Picayune. If you're not old enough to remember when he was a fixture on public television, here's a primer on why Chef Paul was so awesome.

At its peak in the 1980s, Prudhomme's profile cast a shadow even over such culinary legends as Julia Child and James Beard, and there was no restaurant-world precedent for the celebrity he enjoyed. The portly chef starred in several cooking shows and home videos, was a regular on local and national TV, appeared on magazine covers and became a best-selling cookbook author a decade before chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, his heir at Commander's Palace, ushered in the age of the celebrity chef. His first of eight books, 1984's "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, " is still widely considered a classic.

“I think that Paul Prudhomme has had the greatest influence on American cooking, in cultivating the public interest in American food, of anybody I know,” said New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne in a 1988 interview. Read the rest

Reissues of rare New Orleans funk/soul 7"s

The first-rate crate-diggers at Soul Jazz are reissuing a series of scarce New Orleans funk/soul 7-inches in sweet packaging including this early 1970s smoking groover by Inell Young, "What Do You See In Her." Listen below! Read the rest

New Orleans cancels plans for Super Bowl drone, after indie paper investigates

Above, "The Bravo 300," a tactical drone man­u­fac­tured in New Or­leans by Cres­cent Un­manned Sys­tems. Weeks after New Orleans local investigative paper The Lens began digging into city of­fi­cials’ plans to use a U.S. Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment aer­ial drone to mon­i­tor crowds at the upcoming Super Bowl, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu announced that the city is no longer pursuing those plans.

Spokesman Ryan Berni of­fered no rea­son for drop­ping the eye-in-the-sky tech­nol­ogy, telling a re­porter to sub­mit a pub­lic-records re­quest. In a brief phone in­ter­view, he would say only that the de­ci­sion to ditch the drone was made “over the past sev­eral days.” In a fol­low-up email, Berni said Home­land Se­cu­rity would be pro­vid­ing a manned he­li­copter, equipped with a cam­era, and that “the City learned by phone in the last few weeks” about the switch.

Read more: City cancels plans for Super Bowl drone despite enthusiasm and interest from NOPD, others ( Read the rest

Video: "Express Yourself" (Diplo ft. Nicky Da B)

[ Video Link. Content warning: Contains vigorous azz-shakin' ]

Via New Orleans native Clayton Cubitt, who says,

I'm gonna say this again, for those of you who yearn for the energy and danger and artistic vitality that NYC had in the 70s/80s, you need to drop everything and get yourself to New Orleans right now.

Shot in and around the Bywater in New Orleans, features friends of mine like Quack, and Rusty Lazer’s Swoon-festooned front steps and amazing art village, and local characters like Amzie Adams, this is your “must watch” of the week.

The album is available as MP3 download at Amazon.

 What the Hell is Sissy Bounce? - Boing Boing Mardi Gras in New Orleans (big photo gallery) - Boing Boing Rotting, abandoned New Orleans theme-park - Boing Boing Coco Robicheaux, "hoodoo bluesman" of New Orleans, has died ... Read the rest

Coco Robicheaux, "hoodoo bluesman" of New Orleans, has died

Via writer Ned Sublette, who profiled him in this 2008 Bomb article, comes the sad news that New Orleans hoodoo bluesman Coco Robicheaux has died. He is said to have suffered a massive heart attack while sitting at the bar. He was 64 years old. has an obituary, and more on the circumstances of his death. His bio on Wikipedia is here. Here's a link to his works via Amazon.

Read the rest