Papa Roux: Provides Great Food and a Job to a Struggling Teen

roux2Sometime last year Casey asked me if I wanted to stop at a little restaurant called Papa Roux. She explained that the restaurant served Cajun food and that she was a big fan. I had never had Cajun food before and I passed. It just didn’t sound good. Casey went to the restaurant with out me and I went home and had cereal.

Casey made several trips back to Papa Roux after that and she tried to convince me to give the food a try, but I refused. Then one day another attorney in my office told me I needed to stop at this great little place next time I was in Marion County’s Traffic Court. The place’s name?  Papa Roux.

A few weeks later that co-employee and I left the office and made the 10 to 15 minute drive to Papa Roux. The place was packed. It was filled with all sorts of people. It had the perfect mix of people that practically shouted that I was about to eat at a local favorite. It had the same feel and mix of people that Casey and I look for whenever we’re in a new unfamiliar city. We always look for the small rundown food joints where we can find constructions workers, office workers, families, police officers, etc. all scattered through the restaurant.

Papa Roux is that type of place, and their food did not disappoint. I was converted as soon as I took a bite of their etouffee  and I knew I had been missing out for far too long (by the way, you get all you can eat sides at the 10th Street location, which includes etouffee).

Already having been a fan of Papa Roux, I jumped a little inside when I saw a story promoted on Yahoo’s main website. The owner of Papa Roux, Art Bouvier, made a good business decision and tremendously improved a family’s financial situation.

Mr. Bouvier was approached by Jhaqueil Reagan, an 18-year old, who had been walking along the roadway. Mr. Reagan asked Mr. Bouvier how much further it was to 10th Street and Sherman Street. Mr. Bouvier told Mr. Reagan that it was approximately 6 to 7 more miles and that he should probably catch a bus.  Mr. Reagan headed on his way down the road.

Sometime later Mr. Bouvier and his wife headed down 10th Street and ran across Mr. Reagan, who was still diligently walking towards 10th Street and Sherman Street. Mr. Bouvier offered him a ride and Mr. Reagan explained that he was on his way to a job interview for a minimum wage job so that he could support his two younger siblings. He explained that his mother had passed away a few years ago and he was left to care for his siblings, and getting this minimum wage job was going to help him do that. The kid didn’t even have enough money to pay the bus fare so he didn’t have to walk to his interview.

Mr. Bouvier saw an opportunity to hire a very dedicated individual and offered to hire the kid and double his wages.

It’s a heartwarming story that has gained a lot of attention nationally. For me, the kid’s dedication really stands out.  Indianapolis is not known for being very friendly to walking commuters. One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Indianapolis was that there weren’t many sidewalks in the city and there were even fewer shoulders along the roadway. I tried riding my bike to my first day of law school and I swear I nearly died three times from nearly being hit by dump trucks that didn’t think it was necessary to share the roadway with a cyclist. Riding my bike in the shoulder wasn’t an option because there were no shoulders and there were no sidewalks.

This kid walked several miles on a sidewalk-less road in the cold and slush bound and determined to interview for a minimum wage job. Impressive.

In the end both sides won. Mr. Bouvier got a very dedicated employee, and Mr. Reagan got a higher paying job to help support his family.

Photo Credit: Papa Roux’s Twitter Account

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