Meet the Cast‎ > ‎2013‎ > ‎

Boutin's - Baton Rouge - June 9th

Emcee, P
aul Arrigo is the President & CEO  of Visit Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitor's Bureau,
 since 2002.  Prior to that time, he served as the Bureau's VP of Sales & Marketing since 1997.  He is a native of New Orleans and has over 41 years of experience in hospitality marketing.  Paul and his wife Melanie reside in Baton Rouge with their daughter, Lauren.  Paul was in the original cast of "Meanwhile, Back At CafeDu Monde.. at the Myrtles Plantation in May 2010, and has been on board as a popular headliner and emcee in more than 8 shows.  His monologue - "New Orleans Restaurants Storm Into Baton Rouge" is a favorite with audiences and he keeps everyone in hysterics!  His story, "New Orleans Restaurants Storm Into Baton Rouge"  is  featured in  the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Life Stories About Food coffeetable/cookbook.  

Gabby Loubiere, Owner of Brew Ha-Ha - An LSU Graduate and mother of two beautiful daughters, Sophie (9) and Lilly (7).  She opened Brew Ha-Ha Sept. 11th, 2004. She is Baton Rouge's "original cake ballers". Newly engaged to an amazing guy, Walker Higgins, who also has a 23 month old, Mia  she will soon be a step-mommy. She truly loves the coffee shop vibe...hang out all day, chatting about the ways of the world! She loves to bake and work out. Brew Ha-Ha is now a full cafe and this summer they are planning to start roasting their own coffee.

Chef Sean "Poochie" Rivera is the Chef De Cuisine at St.James Place in Baton Rouge. 
Growing up in New Orleans, Sean has been in the restaurant industry for almost 20 years. His love of French Creole cuisine has allowed his cooking style to flourish. After an A.C.F. Internship in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1998, and then traveling around Europe for a couple years, his palate and cooking style became refined and elevated. Once he finally settled back to New Orleans, he looked to capture the essence of his continental experiences through his food. After Katrina, he realized that a close neighbor to New Orleans, Baton Rouge would be just what the culinary world was looking for. Owning a catering company and other restaurants as the head chef, he slowly became accustomed to the Baton Rouge food scene. By taking the next step and adding food writing to his repertoire, his view of the culinary scene has grown instrumentally. He has written for Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine, he is the Food Editor for Dig Magazine, and he is a featured C-Team Blogger for Southern Living’s partnered social media site The Southern CoterieApart from helping his wife raise their two young children, he is starting a Louisiana based food blog to put Baton Rouge on the map as a foodie town. As part of that goal, he wants to become nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Journalism. 

Kat Rivera, a
 New Orleans native, she learned the expectations of French table service through working as a server and putting herself through college at Loyola University. As a Cum Laude graduate with a double major in Advertising and Spanish, a career in the culinary world was not her expected path. Utilizing her educational background and embracing the lifestyle of being married to a chef, Sean Rivera, they formed a catering company together. With a move to Baton Rouge following Katrina, stepping into the role of event coordinator was a clear path. Once kids entered the picture, she turned to advertising consulting, brand development, and graphic design work, most of which was for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs, Kat was able to find a unique niche to continue working in the culinary world and began to share her favorite dishes through photographs and writing about them. It is this passion for food writing that prompted her to start blogging. After being quickly picked up by various websites, such as One for the Table and The Southern Coterie, she has also had some work published in local Baton Rouge publications such as Dig Magazine.

Myles Sweeney is a 
native of New Orleans and long time resident of Baton Rouge, studied engineering at LSU back in the '50s and spent 42 years in sales and sales management roles in the pump, valve, and corrosion resistant process equipment field, retiring from the Duriron Co., after 38 years.  He has spent the past 15 years as president of Myles Sweeney & Associates, in a continuing consulting role placing sales and sales management executives across the globe. He is married to Sherry Sweeney and father of Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, Shannan Rieger, Erin Segrest Uffman, and Dr. Kelly Clements, and nine grandchildren.  He enjoys golf, travelling and tailgating at LSU in his RV.

Vanda Gray is a native of Brazil, has lived in Baton Rouge since 1996.  She is the founder of Body Fit Pilates in Baton Rouge, the producer of Body Fit Pilates television show, a certified Pilates instructor with a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Fortaleza. She has two grown children, Francisco and Evelyn.  She enjoys fishing, boating, running, tennis, mini-golf, ballet, dance, Pilates and cooking. She also loves travelling and is a self-proclaimed foodie/wine connoisseur. She donates her time to Cystic Fibrosis and The  American Cancer Society.  She is a member of the Baton Rouge Run Club, Bengal Belles and the Krewe of Artemis.

Lisa Annitti is an actress and head production accountant on ABC's Revenge. Lisa's food story, "A Coconut pie and a Bottle of Wine" has become legendary as it was the funny story that inspired Peggy to create the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Lisa was in the original cast of Meanwhile at The Myrtles in 2010 and has been in the New Orleans and Los Angeles shows.  Her story is the first food story in the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde ... Life Stories About Food book.  She also contributed her own coconut pie recipe to the book. Lisa is originally from New Jersey and presently working as the Production Accountant on ABC show, Revenge

John Gray
  is a 
Jazz Artist, a professional trumpet player and educator.  He performs a wide range of music genres including jazz, funk, R&B, as well as classical with various groups including The JGray Jazz Trio, The Soul/Funk band, The Michael Foster Project and The Soul Jukebox which have performed for numerous events in and around South Louisiana for Festivals, Government officials and Organizations. He has been profiled and written about for local and national publications such as 225 Magazine, The Advocate, Bankers Travel and more.  John has been in numerous Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... shows since 2010 and his story "Hangin" is featured in the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Life Stories About Food book.  He presented his story at the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival and the 2012 Faulkner Socieity's Words and Music Conference in New Orleans.

Missy Crews
 is a  Baton Rouge native and LSU graduate and is the Director of Communication for the Louisiana International Film Festival. As a former Miss Louisiana, Missy also performed with the Miss America USO tour before moving to NYC where she worked in tv, film & print.  Moving to Charlotte, NC, she joined the staff of the Children's Theatre of Charlotte serving as a writer, performer and director and continued her passion for youth development by serving as Director for the National program, "Best Friends - Best Men" in the Charlotte school system.  Missy served as Marketing Director for the private music club, "Music With Friends" and worked with the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge as Special Projects Director. She has two 
daughters, Susannah and Elizabeth.  Missy was in the 2011 One Year Anniversary Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du and her monologue, "Caution, Nostalgia Is High In Calories" and praline recipe is featured in  the coffeetable/cookbook. She presented her story at the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival.

Peggy Sweeney-McDonald
 is the creator of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde...and the editor of the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Life Stories About Food, the much acclalimed coffee table/cookbook by Pelican Publishing. She is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an LSU graduate and has lived in Houston, New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles.  She is the President of Superstar Events-LA a meeting and event production company.  She is married to James McDonald, a New Yorker.  She is developing a television show based on the Meanwhile... brand and southern film projects.  Since the book launch in 2012, she has been featured in countless magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows and been invited to present the Meanwhile... journey and food stories across the South and recently in Southern California. She was a presenter at the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival and the 2012 Faulkner Society's Words & Music. She is a contributing writer for Chili Pepper Magazine's upcoming BBQ issue.  She will be hosting the first Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Culinary Cruise in November 2013 with Chef Jim Urdiales on the Norwegian Epic ship out of Miami.  
Websites: and



Peggy Sweeney-McDonald,
May 12, 2013, 2:07 PM