Walk around the French Quarter any night, go to any music club from the Bywater to Uptown, or join any second-line, and you soon understand New Orleanians’ perspective on life. We’re open-minded and accepting. Famous people move here because they discover nobody’s judging in New Orleans. Everybody’s equal.
By and large that’s true, but might I suggest, there’s one thing we’re all judgmental about here. And that’s our position in the State of Louisiana.
We’re one of the most famous cities in the world. So, we tend to implicitly believe that if someone moves here from, say Lafayette or Lake Charles, they’re coming here because New Orleans has something to offer they can’t get at home.
Both of our guests on this edition of Out to Lunch challenge that preconception. They’re both bringing something unique to New Orleans.
Trip Goolsby moved here from Lake Charles. If I tell you he lives here but still keeps his original office open there, what business would you assume Trip is in? Oil and gas? Law? Actually, Trip is an MD whose clinic, Infinite Health Integrative Medicine Center, specializes in what they refer to as “age-reversal.”
The clinic employs progressive medical strategies that aim to treat a wide range of conditions from fatigue to debilitating pain. In some cases they claim they can eliminate chronic disease, like diabetes. This isn’t the kind of business we’d normally expect to see imported here from Lake Charles.
And so, to Lafayette. This story is a little more traditional. But only because it’s about food.
Manish Patel grew up in New Orleans. He moved to Lafayette for college, where he studied architecture and graphic design. After graduating, Manish stayed in Acadiana – in Lafayette and Carencro – for 10 years before moving to New Orleans. And this is where food comes into the picture.
Manish’s father had spent a career in hotel kitchens, first in Mumbai, India, and then in New Orleans, and when Manish came back home, he started making Indian food. Specifically, an Indian street food, called dosas.
First Manish sold his dosas at pop-ups. Then he moved to a space at the Auction House food court. And in 2018, he opened his own Indian street food restaurant, Tava.
Very little in life is absolute. Most things are relative. For example, if you expect to find $10,000 in your bank account and you discover there’s only $1,000 in there, you don’t feel good. But if you think you have $10 in the bank, that same $1,000 can make you feel rich.
The point being, our expectations can define our experience. How far can you push this? If you don’t accept the generally-held expectation that time and age dictate your health, can you stay healthy longer? If you open a restaurant with no prior experience, can your expectation of success push you to create a real success?
Challenging preconceptions and expectations can be, well, challenging. In the words of the immortal Little Feat, “Time loves a hero, but only time will tell.” When you succeed at defying conventional wisdom, it’s groundbreaking and rewarding.