Judy Walker, born in 1952, grew up in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Walker earned a degree in English from Arkansas Tech in 1973. She got her first job at the Tulsa World as a magazine writer in 1977. She moved to the Arizona Republic, as a features reporter at a bureau in Sun City, Arizona in 1980. Eventually, she became the food editor for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.
Walker moved to New Orleans in 2000. Soon after, she became the home and garden editor of the Times-Picayune. Walker became the food editor of the Times-Picayune in 2004, after long-time food editor Dale Curry retired. In 2005, Walker began Exchange Alley, a recipe exchange column. It quickly became a place where individuals could seek and share recipes lost in Hurricane Katrina. Along with Marcelle Bienvenu, Walker published Cooking Up A Storm in 2008, based on the recipes of Exchange Alley. The book was nominated for a James Beard award in 2009.