to prominence began inauspiciously enough—as a cook at Sclafani's restaurant, a
local establishment in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. Quietly launching his
career in 1959, Louis Evans soon made a name for himself in a demanding industry
where everyone is a critic.
began far from the fine dining rooms in which his culinary creations were
served. He grew up as one of seven children in a sharecropper's family in rural
Mississippi, but Evans' life took a fortuitous turn when his family moved to New
Orleans. Local restaurateur Pete Sclafani saw something notable in one of his
new employees. Sclafani took Evans under his wing and trained him in the art of
refined his talents with Sclafani for eleven years, Evans stepped up to assume
the position of relief cook at the Caribbean Room in the Pontchartrain Hotel. A
world-class New Orleans hotel with a renowned reputation, the Pontchartrain
Hotel is recognized by the world's elite traveler for spoiling guests with
exceptional service and luxuriously regal accommodations. During Evans' tenure
the Caribbean Room was a gathering place for some of the most famous actors,
writers, and decision makers of the time. Evans' culinary work charmed
discerning dining patrons and management alike. In short order, he was named
executive chef, a title he would hold for eighteen years. Cementing his standing
there would be a pie-in-the-sky wish come true—make that Mile High Pie, a
dessert that became synonymous with the Caribbean Room.
restaurant in the New Orleans Hilton wanted a new chef, they chose the man who
brought with him delectable favorites such as Oyster and Artichoke Soup, Chicken
in Champagne Sauce, and Crabmeat au Gratin. So popular was Evans, that his loyal
clientele followed him to the riverside restaurant and continued to delight in
his culinary creations.
earned him membership in the Order of the Golden Toque, restricted to one
hundred members nationwide. He was the first black chef to achieve this
distinction and was consistently given four-star ratings by almost every major
food critic in the nation. Evans was selected by Julia Child herself as one of
thirteen chefs featured in her special PBS series “Dinner at Julia's.” In 1986
Evans was named Chef of the Year in New Orleans, perhaps the finest distinction
that can be given to a Creole chef. He died in New Orleans in 1990.