We’re inundated with bad news and dire predictions about the sate of our nation and our world and, here in south Louisiana, the condition of environment, which is ever more vulnerable to climate change and global warming.

Our unhealthy lifestyles are also a problem: we spend too much time in front of screens – now under the control of artificial intelligence – and we eat the wrong foods full of processed ingredients and high fructose corn syrup.

But, there are signs of hope everywhere that it’s not too late! And forward thinking entrepreneurs are creating businesses specifically designed to address the challenges with the way we build and live and eat.

Caitlin Robbins is co-founder and co-owner of Swamp Fly, an environmental design and consulting firm that specializes in strategic planting design, wildlife gardens, reforestation, green infrastructure and land management for both residential and commercial clients. Swamp Fly is proudly woman-owned and Caitlin and her partners are committed to protecting Louisiana’s vulnerable ecological communities.

Caitlin Robbins, center, with Swamp Fly partners Ashlee Bracken (l) and Emily Pontiff (r)

Caitlin Robbins, center, with Swamp Fly partners Ashlee Bracken (l) and Emily Pontiff (r)

Caitlin is the firm’s Baton Rouge operations manager so is focused primarily on the Capital Region.

Caitlin is a native of Baton Rouge, who got her masters in anthropology from LSU and has a master’s degree in public health and tropical medicine. She is also a licensed landscape horticulturist and recently received a certificate in compost training from the LSU Ag Center, which she plans to use to expand Swamp Fly’s capacity to offer full circle sustainable services.

Dr. Katie Crifasi is owner of Plantry Café, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the Villas of Bluebonnet Centre Shopping Center just north of I-10.

Dr Katie Crifasi, doctor and restaurateur

Dr Katie Crifasi, doctor and restaurateur

Katie is a physician at Our Lady of the Lake Physician group. She opened the restaurant in the spring of 2023 because it was the kind of place she thought Baton Rouge needed – a restaurant where patrons can enjoy plant based food in an upscale,  contemporary restaurant setting.

Katie, a Baton Rouge native, is a primary care physician with a Doctor of Osteopathy degree. D.Os go to med school and take the boards just as M.Ds do and they practice in hospitals and clinics everywhere, but their focus is more holistic and is focused on a whole person and wellness-centric approach to medical care.

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. The photo of Caitlin is from InRegister, the photo of Dr Crifasi is from 225 Magazine.