“Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than thegorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks.”  – Roy Blount Jr. “Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than thegorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks.”  – Roy Blount Jr. “Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than thegorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks.”  – Roy Blount Jr. “Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than thegorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks.”  – Roy Blount Jr. “Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than thegorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks.”  – Roy Blount Jr.

About the Book

The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak is a memoir about two larger-than-life characters and the son whom their lives helped to shape. Ruth Fertel was a petite, smart, tough-as-nails blonde with a weakness for rogues, who founded the Ruth’s Chris Steak House empire almost by accident. Rodney Fertel was a gold-plated one-of-a-kind character who lived in a Southern Gothic Damon Runyon world. Read more »

Now in its 3rd Printing

from the University Press of Mississippi

Latest News

From "The [University of Arkansas] Clinton School of Public Service Presents on FM 89"

February 2, 2012A conversation on literature with Randy Fertel: "I parented myself with books. I fell in love with literature and went there looking for wisdom." Hear more »

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An interview with LOLIS ERIC ELIE, New Orleans' ombudsman, documentarian, and storyteller

January 24, 2012"Much about New Orleans has changed. But an abiding appreciation for the music exemplifies how this city has stayed true to its roots."

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Jed Horne, Pulitzer Prize winner

Just in

The New York Times The Mississippi River Delta Must Be Restored By RANDY FERTEL, January 27, 2012

To halt the erosion of the delta wetlands, Congress must give gulf states the billions in penalties expected from the BP oil spill.
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Watch a short excerpt from the Nation Institute conversation at Housing Works in NYC between Calvin Trillin and Randy Fertel.

Watch the whole laugh-fest that drips with New Orleans culture and lore here »