Creole Lunch House


713 12th St.
Lafayette, LA 70501
(337) 232-9929

Rice. Merline Herbert’s most memorable food memories revolve around the locally grown grain, she eats it for lunch or dinner most every day, and insists that her customers recognize its importance. Rice is the centerpiece of every plate lunch served at the Creole Lunch House: each scoopful is treated like a daily supplement, each morsel an identity marker of localism and belonging. Food is rice, and rice is food, or according to Merline, “you can’t eat without no rice.” Since 1983, Merline has been serving her rice with gravy, meatball fricassee, stuffed baked chicken, and barbecued ribs. On Wednesdays in season, fresh okra is smothered and stewed with chicken and sausage. Merline opened the Creole Lunch House after working for over two decades in the public school system; not ready to retire and recognized as a savvy home cook, Merline risked it all on rice and gravy and, in her words, “never looked back.”

Date of interview:

March 17, 2011

Interviewer:

Rien T. Fertel

Photographer:

Denny Culbert

Creole Lunch House - Merline Herbert - Lunch Houses of Acadiana
You’ve got to have rice, because it ain't lunch until you’ve had rice on your plate.

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