“Our customer base is rich and poor…no one is exempt…I’ve seen them all…”
Madonna Broussard, owner
More than a generation ago, Lafayette locals ate at a lunch house owned by a lady familiar to all her customers by her first name, Laura. Beloved by her regulars, Laura and her cooking earned an intensely loyal clientele that included patrons from all walks of life. Thirty-five years later, Laura’s granddaughter, Madonna Broussard, still serves up the same family recipes, now at a different establishment that commemorates its founder with the name Laura’s II.
In 2000, Madonna recognized her grandmother’s legacy was facing tough times, and the restaurant was in need of help. Her grandmother Laura had died, and Madonna’s parents, who were running Laura’s at the time, were not in good health. Then there were all the usual problems of the food industry, troubling the business. Madonna decided that what her grandmother had created for the community was too precious to let slip away; she resolved preserve her family legacy and all that was good about Laura’s. Her husband, her in-laws, and her friends worked together tirelessly to revive the good cooking and good times that customers had always associated with the original Laura’s. And in tribute to Madonna’s grandmother, Laura’s II was born. Located now on a busy thoroughfare, University Avenue, the tables are always full and the kitchen is a very, very lively place. Along with her tight-knit family and friends, Madonna Broussard has managed to carry forward to new generations her grandmother’s tradition of home-cooked lunches, simple and satisfying.
Served up cafeteria-style, the food at Laura’s II confronts customers with a lot of tough choices when it comes to picking a [plate lunch][lauras-video-08]. But no matter what’s on the menu that day, you can count on eating food that’s fixed in the classic Creole way that Madonna’s grandmother would have found familiar. As good as it all is, though, there’s one specialty of the house that regulars have come to crave: the stuffed turkey wing. Locals know to order early because Laura’s II always sells out by noontime; to persistent latecomers, Laura’s turkey wings are just the stuff of legends.
Madonna Broussard will tell you that the effort to preserve the home-cooked heritage of her grandmother hasn’t been easy, but neither has it gone unappreciated: Laura’s II is still serving some of the same customers that knew her grandmother by her first name 35 years ago. Of course, hospitality is still the first order of business, just as it was back then, and so new faces are always welcome too.
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