Creative Entrepreneurship and Community Impact with Jane Wolfe

Creative Entrepreneurship and Community Impact with Jane Wolfe

It's time to explore creativity on 'The Truth in This Art' podcast, where Rob Lee takes the lead on this meaningful conversation with Jane Wolfe, an accomplished entrepreneur, Tulane and Harvard Divinity School graduate, and co-founder of Melba's Famous Po'Boys. Through resilience after Hurricane Katrina, Jane transformed a blighted corner into a New Orleans landmark. Discover the authentic Creole flavor and unique atmosphere of Melba's, a cherished spot for locals and tourists alike. Jane's dedication to responsible social entrepreneurship shines as she balances business acumen with social commitment. Join the conversation on business, culture, and community, and explore how Jane's Eat and Read Literacy Project adds a remarkable dimension to her restaurant, fostering both culinary and educational delights.

About Melba's Famous Po'Boys

Melba’s was born from the rubble of Hurricane Katrina, turning a blighted corner into a New Orleans landmark. Located at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Elysian Fields Avenue, this PoBoy Shoppe has become the cornerstone of the neighborhood and is well-known as a favorite among the locals. New Orleans tourists crave Melba’s Creole flavor and urban atmosphere. Located just blocks away from the French Quarter and en route to the Lower 9th Ward Katrina tours, Melba’s is the perfect place to stop and experience authentic New Orleans cuisine. Come discover our authentic PoBoys, where what you see is absolutely what you get.

Off-street parking is provided for tour buses and large groups. Enjoy Melba’s casual atmosphere, listen to the jazz music, and let our delicious sandwiches make your taste buds dance. The only thing more flavorful than our PoBoys is the Melba’s experience itself. Don’t miss out!

About Jane's Book

From GED to Harvard to Inc. 500 offers the dual perspectives of New Orleans restaurateurs, Scott and Jane Wolfe, each telling the story of the long odds they faced building one of the most beloved restaurants in New Orleans. In 1982, as teenagers, the Wolfes bought a rundown market in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Setting out to build a business that their community could take pride in, the young couple revived the old Wagner’s Meats and shaped it once again into a neighborhood fixture, eventually growing the business to ten locations over the next 25 years. Then, Hurricane Katrina destroyed everything they had built. Always resilient, not even a force majeure like Katrina could keep the wolves down for long.

Learn more about Eat and Read at Melba’s

In this podcast:

  • Explore how Jane Wolfe's upbringing and her family's entrepreneurial journey ignited her own path as an entrepreneur.
  • Dive into the story behind Melba's po'boy shop, the busiest in America, and its role as a catalyst for the Eat and Read Literacy Project.
  • Uncover the impact of the literacy program's 18,500 book giveaways, giving a voice and fostering a love for reading within the community.
  • Discuss the profound perspective on confidence shared by Jane, emphasizing love, faith, and self-validation over external approval.
  • Delve into the discussion on the significance of attention to detail and sound decision-making as pivotal factors in achieving business success.

Jane discusses her journey as an entrepreneur and literacy advocate. She shares how her upbringing and family's transition from working at a furniture store to owning their own business inspired her to pursue her own entrepreneurial path. Jane also talks about her early creative interests, including playing school and church, and how these experiences shaped her passion for teaching and spirituality.
She explains how Melba's became the busiest po'boy shop in America and how the restaurant serves as a vessel for her literacy program. Jane discusses the importance of face-to-face interactions and providing for the needs of the community. She also shares the impact of giving away books through the Eat and Read Literacy Project, which has distributed over 18,500 books to date.
Jane reflects on the confidence she gained from her upbringing and faith, and how it has influenced her entrepreneurial journey. She emphasizes the importance of doing the little things right and making good decisions in business. Jane also discusses the themes and lessons in her book, "From GED to Harvard, Then Inc 500: How Two Teens Went from GEDs to Building the Fastest Growing Business in New Orleans."

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This program is supported (in part) by a grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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Original music by Daniel Alexis Music with additional music from Chipzard.

Episode illustration by Alley Kid Art.

About "The Truth In This Art"

"The Truth In This Art," hosted by Rob Lee, is a podcast that explores the essence of creativity and its community impact, amplifying artists' voices and their profound stories.

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Creators and Guests

Rob Lee
Rob Lee
The Truth In This Art is an interview series featuring artists, entrepreneurs and tastemakers in & around Baltimore.
Jane Wolfe
Jane Wolfe
Jane Wolfe is an author, literacy advocate and co-owner of Melba’s Old School Po Boys serves the best po’ boys in New Orleans. See what all the hype is about and enjoy one of our Po Boys today!