I had this pal when I lived in New Orleans, Randy Fertel, whom I would join for lunch on occasion, along with a few other cool people, like Lolis Elie, author of definitive bibles on BBQ, a contributing writer on Treme; other interesting members of the local populi would join us, as well.
I’m not exactly sure how I broke into this circle, but I was blessed for having an introduction to these people, their talents, and local knowledge.
If the name Fertel isn’t familiar to you, let me tell you why it should be. Once upon a time in New Orleans (1965), a young mother named Ruth Fertel, took a gamble on her and her children’s future, and bought an also-ran restaurant named “Chris’ Steak House.” A condition of purchase was that Ruth would agree to keep the name “Chris” for some period of time.
After a fire at the original location, Ruth relocated down the street, and renamed the establishment “Ruth’s Chris Steak House,” and the rest of that story you know.
Randy is the remarkable son of remarkable parents, and he has memorialized his life with these two New Orleans giants in a book called ” The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak,” now available on Amazon as well as other outlets.
Randy is a great writer, with great stories. Invest a bit of money and lots of time in the Gorilla Man yarn, and you’ll be richer for it.