Friday, March 1, 2013
|Kevin Robin, left, and Sanjay Maharaj|
When Interstate 49 was being constructed in the 1980s, the fact that the federal highway bypassed Arnaudville could have been considered a negative toward the area’s economic development. Yet, as native Kevin Robin puts it, getting cut out of the federal roadway’s path was actually a positive, allowing the predominately French-speaking community of about 1,500 a chance to maintain what he calls its “naïveté.”
Robin is the owner of a new restaurant in Arnaudville called The Little Big Cup, which opened just over a year ago. Robin and his business partner, Sanjay Maharaj, a Trinidad native, are representative of what some residents are calling Arnaudville’s renaissance, marked in part by a number of new ventures, including the Bayou Teche Brewery on LA 31, Tom’s Fiddle & Bow Shop, the new NuNu’s art studio and, possibly in the near future, a French immersion program in the old St. Luke’s Hospital.
Robin is like many of the town’s native sons and daughters who left their hometown after high school only to return in recent years.
“I lived in New York for about 20 years, but started getting the ahnvie to move back again about two years ago,” he tells IND Monthly during a recent visit to his restaurant, which overlooks Bayou Fusilier.
Robin is no newcomer to Arnaudville’s business community; he represents the fifth-generation to own Russell’s Food Center, located directly across the street from The Little Big Cup.
Recalling the return to his hometown, Robin says the idea to open a restaurant came when his partner, Maharaj, asked the simple question: Where does one go for a good cup of coffee in Arnaudville?
“There wasn’t a place,” says Robin. “So we originally opened Little Big Cup as a little coffee shop. And it has just mushroomed from there.”
That little coffee shop has since become a restaurant, specializing in what Robin describes as “the classic Louisiana plate lunch.”
“The idea was to offer something for people like my sister with kids, people with hectic lives, to be able to still get a nutritious, affordable meal,” he says.
Now Robin is gearing up for the next expansion of the business. That development, for which construction is already under way, includes the erection of a massive wooden deck on the backside of the restaurant. Once finished, it will not only allow for al fresco, on-the-bayou dining, but will also be a place for entertainment, with open mic nights, an outdoor kitchen for cooking demos and a place for zydeco/Cajun dancing.
Like the town’s other business owners, Maharaj and Robin welcome the idea of using the vacant St. Luke’s Hospital building as headquarters for a French immersion program.
“This project would only be a positive for Arnaudville’s economic development and its business community,” says Maharaj, noting, however, that the French immersion program is meeting some resistance from town folks (see this month's cover story, "Parlez Vous?").
Robin, however, believes they will come around. Oftentimes, those against the unknown (and fearful of change) have more in common than they suspect, he says.
“I always joke that Sanjay, even though he’s from another country, is more Cajun than I am,” Robin says of his partner in business and life. “He’s so devoted to family, food, music, and that love of family and culture, to me, is what being Cajun is all about.”
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
If President Barack Obama’s poll numbers, and those for his health care law, haven’t yet bottomed out in the Bayou State, then Democrats surely don’t want to know what the statistical floor actually looks like.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
The comeback of the Wayfarer
Two bedroom New Iberia ranch style house or two bedroom Lafayette condo
The deadline to purchase tickets for the 2014 ABiz Top 50 Business Luncheon featuring top-selling author, political activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is only two weeks away.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Cajun favorites to comfort on Pinhook Road
Critic says Sharknado 2 even better; North Korea offers summer camp; Russia accused of nuclear violations and more national and international news for Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
Summertime floral with panache
Three bedroom St. Martinville traditional or three bedroom Lafayette contemporary cottage
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
As this year’s budget process slogs forward and the Lafayette Parish School Board maintains its hard-headed stance against using any of its more than $60 million reserve fund, another slate of critical programs have rolled through the chopping block, despite the ramifications for the school system.
Meat, cheese and veggies piled high on Texas toast
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The eclectic vibe of summer