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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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Kerry Boutte

201 Julia Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522-1492

Kerry Boutte grew up in the small town of Arnaudville, eating his French-speaking mother’s Cajun cooking at every meal and, later, working at her restaurant, the Teche Drive-In. He went on to become a butcher, a restaurant worker, and finally a restaurateur himself. When Kerry opened Mulate’s, in 1980, he branded it “a Cajun restaurant,” which was an innovative term in those days before Cajun culture became a hot commodity. He developed a menu of familiar Cajun dishes—fried seafood platters, jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo—and staged live Cajun music every night. Both Mulate’s locations (the original in Breaux Bridge, now run by Kerry’s ex-wife, and a second location in New Orleans run by his daughter, Monique) remain deeply Cajun today­—in décor, in music, and in gumbo. Kerry’s own gumbo-cooking style reflects his mother’s, whether he’s basing the dish on seafood or on chicken and sausage: a rich, peanut butter-colored roux, rice served on the side, filé sprinkled on top to taste, and absolutely no celery.

Date of interview:
2007-07-17 00:00

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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