Although this is a show about business in New Orleans, once in a while we have to admit there’s some pretty interesting things going on an hour or so west of us, in Baton Rouge.

There are two impressive institutions in Baton Rouge – not including the legislature. One is the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. It has over 450 employees. They work in 43 laboratories, on a 200-acre campus, focused primarily on researching causes and cures for chronic diseases. And then there’s the LSU Innovation Park. It’s an incredibly successful business incubator and technology transfer office. In the last 20 years it has generated $22m and created 134 full time jobs in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge's over-achiever in chief, Dave Winwood

Baton Rouge’s over-achiever in chief, Dave Winwood

The Associate Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research center is Dave Winwood. The Interim Executive Director of the LSU Innovation Park, is also Dave Winwood.

Interstate Nitpicker, Christina Womack

Interstate Nitpicker, Christina Womack

Christina Womack is a New Orleans native. Christina’s business covers New Orleans, the Northshore, Southern Mississippi, and Southern Alabama. Christina employs 10 independent contractors. When you need one of them, they’ll show up at your house, or school, in an unmarked vehicle. The reason the vehicle is unmarked is that there is apparently a social stigma involved with Christina’s business. And that is, killing lice. Christina’s business is called Nitpicking in NOLA.Christina founded it in 2009. And, although people might be reluctant to admit they use it, business is booming.

Dave Winwood, Christina Womack and Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch at Commander's Palace

Dave Winwood, Christina Womack and Peter Ricchiuti, Out to Lunch at Commander’s Palace

Generally on Out to Lunch we pair guests whose businesses have something in common. It’s hard to imagine any business having much in common with removing lice, and it’s equally hard to match the groundbreaking work going on at Pennington. Strangely, Dave Winwood and Christina Womack make for great lunchtime conversationalists.

Photos over lunch at Commander’s Palace by Jill Lafleur. And here’s more lunchtime conversation about New Orleans bio innovation.

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