This is a show about business. Not a place you’d typically turn to for dating advice. But on this edition of Out to Lunch we’re talking about the business of dating, love, and marriage.

For past generations – your parents or grandparents – charting a life course seemed to be a lot simpler. Especially for a woman. You graduated from high school, you got married to your high school sweetheart or a guy you met in college, and everybody lived happily ever after.

Then we hit the 1970’s, and 50% of marriages ended in divorce.

Today in the United States, people are waiting longer to get married. Or opting not to tie the knot at all. Since 1973, marriage rates in the US have declined nearly 60%.

Other statistics tell us that people are finding it harder to make meaningful connections. More young people than ever report feeling alone, disconnected, and clinically depressed.

And all this comes at a time when a staggering array of apps and online dating sites are promising to pair people up for everything from one-night stands, to casual relationships to forever partnerships.

What’s not working? And how do we fix it?

We could look forward, to the next generation of technology and ask AI to find us love and happiness. Or we could look back. And rather than having to check a box that says, “I’m not a robot,” how about sitting down face to face with an actual human being who is a dating specialist?

Yes, there is such a job. It’s called a Matchmaker. Admittedly there aren’t many of them. Ann Parnes is one of the very few.

Ann Parnes, expanding her matchmaking skills westward bringing her Match Made in NOLA to Baton Rouge

Ann Parnes, expanding her matchmaking skills westward bringing her Match Made in NOLA to Baton Rouge

Ann Parnes is founder of Match Made in NOLA, a traditional matchmaking service that is, as its name implies, based in New Orleans but has expanded to Baton Rouge and does business like a real old-fashioned matchmaker – by carefully curating potential partners and introducing them to one another.

Ann began her career as an attorney and spent several years prosecuting criminals, until 2014, when she felt a calling taking her in a different direction and became a certified life coach.

From there she began to sense what she says was a real calling and a recognition that she had a gift for bringing people together, so in 2017 she opened Match Made in NOLA. And now her services have expanded to include Baton Rouge.

Most people who are dating and looking for a partner are younger. They’ve grown up with Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, OK Cupid, Christian Mingle, J-Date, and the list goes on. There are even specialty dating apps like “Dig – the dog lovers dating app.”

So, let’s start with the obvious question. Is someone who turns to an old-fashioned matchmaker burned out on dating apps? Or is a typical client someone different who can’t bring themselves to use a dating app and hasn’t had any success meeting anyone at The Chimes or Chelseas?

Could matchmaking be for you? On this special dating love and marriage edition of Out to Lunch, Ann explains the art and science of dating to Stephanie.

If you’re looking for a great place for a date in Baton Rouge you can’t beat Mansurs on the Boulevard. We’ve been meeting there every week for years on Out to Lunch and we’re all still happily working together! And if you’re looking for even more of an insight into Ann’s life you can check her out on It’s New Orleans Happy Hour.