On August 29, The Travel Channel's "No Reservations" in Cajun Country episode aired. Much to the delight of Cajuns and natives of South Louisiana, chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain revealed to the rest of the world why our region is such a special place - and why so many people visit and never leave. Bourdain ate his way from New Orleans to Eunice and back, and while live tweeting during the episode wrote, "I'm struck dumb looking at the food on my own damn show."
A few weeks ago, I was at Lafayette's downtown post office and overheard the postal worker telling the customer in front of me to spread the word that her post office was on the list of possible closures.
Last fall, Kickstarter featured a project with the goal of raising money for a movie about pimento cheese. Seventy-four backers, including Deep South, and $2,625 later, "Pimento Cheese, Please: A Film About the South's Beloved Spread" met its goal and was deemed "funding successful." Since then, Richmond, Virginia, filmmakers Nicole Lang and Christophile Konstas have been traveling the South in search of great pimento cheese spread and getting their film ready for an October release. Former intern Sarah Matalone interviewed Nicole about her idea for the film and obvious love of the South's favorite cheese dish.
by Leah Weiss
My older sister Katie married her beau Clarence Barnhill in 1926, shortly after I was born. They spent their wedding night at the home place with the whole family a wall or two away. This was a common thing to do because no one had money and there was no place to go. Rural North Carolina was a soft mix of dirt roads and sprawling farms and the occasional small town hugging up against the railroad track. Next to tobacco, its biggest business was raising families.
In the middle of her wedding night, Katie was awakened by my crying. She got up, padded barefoot through the house, found me and brought me back to her bed. The practice of an older sister taking care of a new baby was routine in big families; even though I was Katie’s sister, I was also Katie’s baby. Mama could take care of the others.
Years later, after I married, Clarence often teased my husband Alvon by asking, Did you know Lucy slept with me on my wedding night? It was an off-color joke that he never tired of telling. Alvon and I hoped it would play itself out. It eventually did, but it
by Richard Lutman
The day after his release from prison Cass Franklin returned to his weather beaten cabin in sycamore grove at the foot of Blue Mountain and plugged in his TV. He needed the comfort it brought him. He turned it on and the picture rolled just as it always did.
“Damn thing!” he said and hit the top of the set with the broad palm of his gnarled hand. The picture rolled in two compact lines across the screen. “Damn thing!” He hit it again, this time striking the side of the set sharply. The picture righted itself and he reached over and turned it off, then turned it on again. This time there were no lines. The screen illuminated the room with a familiar flickering light.
He stretched, tendons creaking in his arms. Then feeling restless because he had nothing left to do, he walked to the window wondering if things would be the same as they had been before he had been sent away.
The early morning mists made everything seem fresh and new. The glow of his charcoal kiln by the barn burning through. He had spent the first hours after his return preparing the kiln. The work had
By Tony R. Lindsay
Twelve-year-olds Homer Guthry and Elwood Hatmaker meet each day at a swimming hole deep in a maple and pine forest along Indian Creek. The stream feeds into a narrow river near Hinesville. Cold, greenish water spills over algae-clad boulders and collects into an azure pond at a place called Blue Deep. Sunlight penetrating the surface yields streaks of violet. The purity and depth of the pool gives the site its name.
A short board is secured to the end of a thirty-foot rope attached high in a cottonwood tree. The boys swing out over the lake to a height of about fifteen feet before releasing the rope and yelling “Geronimo!” They flail away with arms and legs before tumbling buck-naked into the chilly water. Since the water is deeper than any youth can dive while holding his breath, the lake is rumored to be bottomless. No more than a few dozen kids and countless generations know the secret location of Blue Deep.
Elwood brings along a beagle. He calls the dog “Cat” for reasons known only to Elwood. Homer’s dog, a mostly Coonhound, has the more conventional name of Wilson. A third dog hangs around with the boys and
by Shermika Dunner
Imagine being so afraid for your life that you can't leave your seat. Angry mobs await with tear gas, baseball bats and, even worse, guns. Racial epithets are hurled, and instead of state or governmental protection, you are at the mercy of the mob.
These images are not imaginary, but frightenly real. They occurred during May through November of 1961 all over the Deep South and were experienced by the Freedom Riders. The Freedom Riders were a group of Americans, black and white, from a myriad of backgrounds, who shared a common thread: the desire to effect change and have blacks treated as equals. The Freedom Riders rode integrated buses into the segregated South to challenge Boynton vs. Virginia, a Supreme Court decision that made it unlawful to have racial segregation in restaurants and bus stations.
Birmingham, Alabama, is synonyomous with the Civil Rights era, and mentions of the city often conjure memories of Bull Conner, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an endless array of faces that are unknown and unsung. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the brave Freedom Riders, the Birmingham History Center is showing a traveling exhibit that tells the story of the
An interview with Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson about their new book chronicling the life of Joran Van der Sloot, his recent crime in Peru and the ongoing mystery of Alabama native Natalee Holloway.
by Erin Z. Bass
I've always been interested in missing persons cases, so when news of Birmingham, Alabama, teenager Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba broke in 2005, I wondered along with the rest of America what had happened to her. Since then, I've followed news reports related to the case. I thought when Joran Van der Sloot confessed to reporter Peter de Vries in the car that time, he would finally be convicted. But it seems like Joran's lies always manage to save him, kind of like more recent criminal Casey Anthony. I can see how after six years, some people may be tired of hearing about the Holloway case, but I wonder how many of them realize Joran went on to kill another young girl in Peru named Stephany Flores (yes, I'm assuming he was responsible for Natalee's death here) and even though he's currently in jail, he hasn't been convicted of that crime yet either. So, for the naysayers who think they wouldn't be interested in
by Shermika Dunner
What's 13 and gets bigger, better and wiser with each year? Sidewalk Film Festival, heralded as one of the greatest independent film festivals in the Southeast, welcomed moviegoers to Birmingham's theater district August 26-28. I had the pleasure of attending and managed to see quite a few films that are either about the South or have a Southern connection.
“The Reconstruction of Asa Carter” is a documentary that profiles the life of Asa Carter, a KKK leader from Alabama who fibbed about being a Native American in a memoir he wrote. Utilizing the name Forrest Carter, he wrote "The Education of Little Tree," which chronicled his life as a Cherokee orphan. To date, the book has sold over a million copies and is regarded as one of the first books in the Native American literature genre. The documentary's subject matter is intriguing, considering Carter was the speechwriter for George Wallace, but lacks appeal and left many unanswered questions. The film did explore Carter’s life in the KKK but glossed over what happened after it was discovered he was not a Native American. I regret choosing this one over "Sahkanaga,” but that's always the dilemma at film festivals.
Next up, “Leaving