OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur’s. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur’s and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.
Not so long ago, they used to roll up the sidewalks in downtown Baton Rouge at 5 p.m, or so the saying went. And it wasn’t far from the truth. Today, however, downtown is a burgeoning district, home not only to state office buildings and law firms, but to apartment complexes, restaruatns, museums and galleries and, even, a distillery.
Walter Tharp is the president and owner of that distillery: Cane Land Distilling Company, which makes rum and other products from sugar cane grown right across the river from Baton Rouge on the Alma Plantation & Sugar Mill, owned by Walter’s family. Walter hatched the idea of opening a distillery while attending a party at a wedding of the owners of the famed rum company, Ron Zacapa in Guatemala. Walter launched the company in 2013, but it would be more than four years before Cane Land opened for business.
Rodneyna Hart is an artist and a facilitator of others’ art. She is the exhibitions manager at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum, which has been one of the key attractions downtown since opening in the 1990s. Rodneyna juggles her duties with those of curator at the Healthcare Gallery off Jefferson Highway. In her free time, Rodneyna also serves as a freelance curator for one off shows of local artists.
Times are changing in downtown Baton Rouge and Stephanie's guests on this edition of Out to Luch are changing them.