Wednesday, June 27


Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge and University of Mississippi filmmaker Joe York will present an exclusive screening of York's film "Above the Line: Saving Willie Mae's Scotch House" on Friday at 7 p.m. at The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

The film tells the story of the destruction of 91-year-old Willie Mae Seaton's award-winning Scotch House restaurant during Hurricane Katrina. In the past year and a half since the storm, a group of volunteers from the Southern Food Alliance, led by Oxford restaurateur John Currence, has worked to rebuild this New Orleans landmark.

The screening will be followed by a tasting of soul food provided by Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken and other local restaurants at the Brushmark restaurant.

Tickets are $10 for Brooks members and $20 for non-members. Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be purchased online at or by calling 901-544-6208.

Tuesday, June 26


I'm trying to put together a series of stories on New Orleanians who are still not home nearly two years after Katrina. I'm interested in all sorts of people--those who want to come home and can't, those who have landed happily where they are, those who are unsure. The most important thing is that they have a good story and tell it well. My hope is to get on the road next month and visit the people and places with the best stories.

Do you know of any Louisianians who are still away? Do you have contact information on them? Or, do you know of any social service organizations in your area that had worked with our people and therefore might know how to locate folks in the diaspora?

Any leads you have would be greatly appreciated. E-mail with ideas.

--Lolis Eric Elie

Thursday, June 14


In 2006, the year that Bowen's Island Restaurant celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, Robert Barber accepted a James Beard Award, honoring the place as an American Classic. Five months later, the restaurant that his late grandmother, May Bowen, started burned to the ground. What remained were the stories.

Sixty years of stories have been collected as part of the Bowen's Island Oral History Project. Our collection of interviews is a portrait of a place, painted by generations of family, loyal employees, and devoted customers.

Bowen's Island Restaurant reopened for buiness a few months after these interviews were conducted. Today, fresh oysters are being brought in from the marshes, new walls are ready to receive their marks, and new memories are being made.

Read the stories and step into the Bowen's Island state of mind.