Welcome to the first installment of U Look Hungry: The New Orleans Sessions. During her recent trip to New Orleans, Helen Hollyman was busy at work interviewing people in the local food scene on site. In this episode, Helen interviews Al and Sal Sunseri of P & J Oyster Company, a staple of the Louisiana oyster industry since 1876. Tune in to hear about the start of the company, as well as the origins of the oyster business in Louisiana. Immigrants from all ethnic backgrounds were involved in the development of the industry and made it what it has become today. Hear about how the daily business has changed after the Gulf oil spill, and the damage done to the local oyster reefs. Are the government and BP doing anything to help the Gulf Coast environmentally? Listen in to hear Al and Sal’s opinions about the best way to rebuild the coastline, including the importance of barrier islands in protecting the Gulf Coast. Al and Sal also talk about the New Orleans Oyster Festival, and Blake, a 5th generation member of P & J, stops in for the interview. New Orleans is one of the biggest ports in the country, and because of this, everyone in the nation is impacted by the events in the Gulf. So tune in and educate yourself about the port that affects you! This program has been brought to you by Tekserve.

“It’s a totally different dynamic now; farmers are having to go through a little bit of a challenge in that the product is not as predominant. Usually after the fresh water events that happened after the spill, you see a lot of growth- and that is a young oyster which is fat and attaches itself to culch, and other oyster reef. Well, we haven’t seen that, so our concern is how productive oysters are going to be in the Louisiana south.” — Sal Sunseri on U Look Hungry

“What’s happened down here is that we don’t have this big barriers any longer. Because of the amount of storm surge that we’ve gotten over the years, because of the 10,000 plus miles of oil and gas lines that have been put in to pump oil all across America- we have lost this coastline in a much more accelerated fashion than if none of this oil and gas activity had taken place.” — Al Sunseri on U Look Hungry