The whispers, across social media platforms, began last week.
Is Anthony Bourdain, the author, erstwhile chef and well-known culture documenter in Acadiana?
Yes. At least - he was.
Bourdain's visits, which were discussed but not publicized by those involved, were mostly reported after they were over.
He had a "quiet dinner" at Cafe Vermilionville. He had lunch (yes, he ate a stuffed turkey wing) at Laura's II. He had dinner at Dean'Os. He interviewed local cultural expert Herman Fuselier. And he chased the chickens in the Mamou Courir de Mardi Gras.
He and his crew were here to film an episode of his most recent program, "Parts Unknown." Also produced by CNN, the program is similar to Bourdain's past projects in that it features him visiting various locations around the planet, exploring, discussing and documenting food and its inescapable entanglement with culture and politics. He is known for his refusal to mince words, and his unwillingness to bow to power or convention is matched only by his respect for authenticity. His non-chef career started with a book he wrote that removed the veil from restaurant kitchens, Kitchen Confidential.
Madonna Broussard, owner of Laura's II, posted about the visit on her Facebook page - but only after he and his crew were gone.
"Today was a good day. Got a 10:30am call , asking could we accommodate ( The Greatest Anthony Bourdain), that moment I got nervous, N very teary eyed , cause this is an Honor," Broussard wrote. "On today I wished my Grandma, n my Mother Dorothy Broussard, along with my Father Harold Broussard, my Brother, my Cousins Tim and Joseph Brian Boudreaux every person/ hand that helped mold the Plate Lunch at Lauras Soulfood to be great, (I wish you guys were here. )We will be featured on a Segment. Of ,Parts Unknown. Thanks Mr.Sid Williams EL Sid O’s night club, for great direction."
Bourdain posted a couple of pictures of himself at the Courir on his Instagram account - on Ash Wednesday.
Local photographer and cultural correspondence Paul V. Kieu posted a photo of Bourdain shucking oysters at a house party on his Instagram, a couple days after he took the picture:
City street Mardi Gras one night Mud pit Mardi Gras the next with some oysters, crabs, and special guests ?? Also I’m pretty sure the @lostbayouramblers are the official soundtrack of the latter half of my 20’s and I’m not mad about it. Also yes, Louis Michot is standing on top of a BBQ pit.
A post shared by Paul Kieu (@paulvkieu) on Feb 10, 2018 at 9:09pm PST
It's not his first visit here; Bourdain filmed a "Cajun Country" episode for his CNN series "No Reservations" in 2011. You can watch bites here. Here's a blog post he wrote about it that you can read. Bourdain's visit included a Cajun house party and boucherie, It was unique in that it did not include the typical out-of-towner cliches that almost always mark programs about Acadiana culture.