Wendell Pierce Opens Grocery Stores in New Orleans: Trombones, Crawfish + Food Deserts

New Orleans crawfish boil
New Orleans crawfish boil
Flickr/MjaMes1408

If your idea of fun is spending the summer watching the entire five seasons of The Wire on Netflix and counting down the days until the third season of Treme starts up on HBO, you might also be the sort of person who follows Wendell Pierce on Twitter. And thus you would know that the actor has a new credit to add to starring roles in both HBO series: opening up four grocery stores in low-income "food deserts" in his native New Orleans.

You'll also want to tune into No Reservations tonight, as Pierce is showing up on this evening's New Orleans episode. Tony Bourdain, of course, is the host of No Reservations as well as a writer on the second season of Treme. (See: the transitive property of David Simon shows.)

The Washington Post recently reported that Pierce was inspired by Michelle Obama's initiative to bring more healthful food options to so-called food deserts. "This is the call to action that has gone out across the country," Pierce told the newspaper.

This is hardly the first good work Pierce has done in New Orleans, where he has earned the nickname "Saint Wendell" for his efforts to help rebuild the city in the wake of Katrina, the ongoing theme for Simon's more recent HBO series. Pierce, who plays trombonist Antoine Batiste in Treme, and his business partners Troy Henry (a childhood friend who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New Orleans) and Chicago developer James Hatchett, will open the first of four Sterling Farms stores in the city this spring.

The stores will each provide about 75-150 jobs for local residents and, says Pierce, have a particularly New Orleans feel: Neighborhood crawfish boils every month.


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