Nicholls alum, author to hold book talk, signing

Ken Wells

THIBODAUX, La. — Award-winning author, journalist and alumni Ken Wells will be at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute on March 8 to discuss his latest book, “Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou,” and host a book signing.

The event will be at 1 p.m. in the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building. Wells will discuss the book, give a short reading, answer questions and sign books.

“Gumbo Life” is a narrative history on one of Cajun Country’s most famous dishes. Insight and comments from Nicholls culinary instructors Chef Marcelle Bienvenu and Chef Randy Cheramie, as well as Chef John Folse, are featured throughout the book.

The Bayou Black native grew up the son of an alligator hunter and a homemaker. After graduating from Nicholls in 1971, Wells worked as a reporter and managing editor with the Houma Courier before moving on to the Miami Herald and the Wall Street Journal. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 with the Herald. In his 24 years with the Wall Street Journal, he worked as a reporter and editor from San Francisco, London, South Africa and New York.

He co-founded Portfolio Magazine in 2006 and then worked for more than six years with Bloomberg News before retiring in 2015.

“Gumbo Life” will be Wells’ eighth book. He has published five fiction books, including “Meely LaBauve,” “Junior’s Leg,” “Logan’s Storm,” “Crawfish Mountain” and “Rascal, a Dog and His Boy.”

Of his previous nonfiction work, “Travels with Barley: The Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint” was published in 2004, and he won the Harry Chapin Book Award for the Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous in 2008.

Wells has lectured at the Faulkner Society Words and Music Festival in New Orleans, the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference at the University of North Texas, and served as an adjunct professor for Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from Nicholls and was inducted as a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

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