Many of you may be familiar with Papa Roux. It’s an east side cajun restaurant at 10th and Post Road operated by the “Papa”, Arthur, and the “Mama”, Colleen, and whole Croux of other great employees. You may have tasted his tremendous poboy sandwiches made with fresh seafood from Zirlott’s Gulf Products when they’re available. When they’re not available you’ll still have options with plenty of other meat ingredients and now get to choose on soft French bread or more of a crusty bagette if that’s your thing. Free side and sweet tea when you dine-in at the restaurant or now fresh, handcrafted sodas using real cane sugar that are out-of-this-world more delicious than big chain sodas.
What you may not have had the opportunity to really be familiar with is the actual man and woman that are Papa and Mama. You see, I’ve had the honor of knowing Papa on a personal level now for a number of years and getting to know his wife Colleen more and more. These two individuals truly are great people. If you follow both of them on Facebook you’ll get a closer look into their lives, but let me tell you that it’s still not the whole story. However, Papa had an update today that lays out all that is in what has become the Roux way.
If you’re not familiar with what a “roux” is, here you go:
roux: (noun) – A mixture of fat (usually butter) and flour used in making sauces.
A roux is the the base of many of the great dishes that are served at Papa Roux. One of the things about making a good roux, is you can’t just let it sit. You’ve got to actively work it. You’ve got to be involved in constant stirring and adjusting the mixture of ingredients so they blend into something that is more than the two ingredients and better than the ingredients are by themselves. I think this recipe has also become the base of just how life is done by the Roux family and crew. Except, it’s usually a mixture of love and hardwork blended together in making life special. There’s active involvement in the lives of others and paying close attention to the right mixture of ingredients.
Here’s the video coverage of the story by Fox59 news. They did the best job of the major news stations, WRTV 6 completely ignored the story.
This is made evident in a post shared today by Papa.
So while I’m outside putting down massive quantities of ice melt, a young kid walked through the parking lot headed west. He asked me how far it was to 10th and Sherman.
I told him it was quite a way away. At least 6 or 7 miles. I suggested that he would be far better off on the bus then on foot, especially in all this ice and slush. He thanked me and continued on.
He could have asked me for money for a bus. In fact I quite expected him to. He didn’t. He just started walking.
15 minutes later, as we were driving down 10th street to head to Strange Brew, we saw him still waking down 10th. He was not yet to Franklin Road.
I told Colleen Roux to pull over, and I called to him to get in. As we were driving, we asked him about his journey.
Jhaquiel was walking from 42nd and Post to an interview at 10th and Sherman. For a potential (but not guaranteed) minimum-wage job. In this weather. Walking, because he couldn’t afford the bus. He had actually planned his time well and the interview was still 2 hours away.
We drove him to 10th and Sherman. He was extremely thankful and said so. I got his telephone number and told him to keep his interview, but I would see if there was a way to hire him, so his daily trek to work would be 3 miles instead of 10. I also asked him if he had eaten today, and he said he hadn’t. I gave him money for lunch and dropped him at the 10th and Sherman Dairy Queen. I think he was in shock.
So, he doesn’t know it yet, but he starts with us on Monday. It’s been a while since I’ve met someone so young with a work ethic like that!
And the next time somebody hands me a sob story about needing money for this or that, because they really want to make their lives better… I hope to be able to introduce them to Jhaquiel.
And that my Indianapolis friends is why I continue to support Papa and his business. Sure the food is terrific. But the people is where the magic is in this endeavor. I encourage you to do two things:
- If you’ve not been to Papa Roux, go visit him. We’ll be going there again tonight. Support his business so he can continue to support his community.
- Find other independent business owners like Papa who are trying to do more than just run their business, they’re trying to impact their community and change people’s lives.
If you’ve got a business you’ve found that others should support, let us know about them in the comments.
Now, you can enjoy this, you know, because all the cool kids are doing it!
Soft or Crusty?