Rien is a Louisiana-born and based freelance writer. He has written for Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Men's Journal, The A.V. Club, Pacific Standard, Southern Living, Saveur, The Local Palate, and many other print and online publications.
He recently finished a manuscript deconstructing the Drive-By Truckers' album Southern Rock Opera for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series, due in the Fall of 2018. His most recent book, The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog, a personal/historical reflection on race, labor, and foodways in the Deep South, is out now from Simon & Schuster's Touchstone imprint. His first, Imagining the Creole City, an intellectual and literary study of a circle of writers in nineteenth-century New Orleans, arrived in 2014. He has taught courses at Tulane University, Bard Early College New Orleans, and, soon to come, the University of Mississippi.