Partners in Business & Life | Trudy & Jan White

Dat Cajun Place Panama City Beach, Florida

Trudy & Jan White
By Wendy Lechner

Jan and Trudy White, owners of Dat Cajun Place Café, have created a home away from home, which is where their story begins.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, both evacuated the New Orleans area with only a few belongings, only packing as much clothing as needed two or three days away, as they assumed they’d be returning soon to New Orleans. They had to wait six to eight weeks to return, only to find they’d lost everything. Florida was open to Katrina refugees and they found temporary residency in Panama City Beach. They felt at home and decided to go into the real estate business while keeping the memory of Louisiana alive with traditional home-cooked meals.
The couple has been married since 2009 but Jan and Trudy met much earlier, in 1994, when they both worked in the auto business. Later they partnered in a very successful market research venture. They were great colleagues, then good friends, and became partners in life.
Trudy is a true Cajun, with ancestral roots from the time Acadians migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia. She said her father spoke fluent Cajun French. Trudy picked up the preparation of traditional recipes from her mother, who had been taught by her grandmother.
Jan and Trudy had an upbringing where they were steeped in the traditions of different aspects of Louisiana’s unique combination of culinary influences – Cajun, Creole, French, Italian, and Irish, among others. The couple’s love for good food is exhibited in the rich roux of Trudy’s famous gumbo, the delicate coating of the fried pickles, the complex spices of the bayou shrimp, and many other wonderful traditional and creative dishes on the menu. If the dishes aren’t specifically Cajun, they have a fun twist with a Cajun name.


January – February 2016  |