This Week’s Various

As always, all images unless otherwise noted copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Like to use one elsewhere? Kindly contact me here.

Graceland, Memphis TN

from a visit in 2002

Graceland is going to start having virtual, two-hour guided tours, January 27, Feb 25, and March 25, with more dates expected. Tickets are $98.50 and will include viewing the home, Meditation Garden, the plane, jet, and more of the complex.

Christenberry: In Alabama Exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art

from a visit to the Christenberry: In Alabama Exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art, 2017

Washington City Paper on the destruction of Lou Stovall’s print studio there due to a tree falling on it; there’s currently an exhibit of his work — through April 11 — at the Columbus Museum in Georgia. Really enjoying “Fruits of our Lives, 1971” by his wife, Di Bagley Stovall.

As an aside, one of Stovall’s neighbors: the Christenberrys.

Since William Christenberry died in 2016, his wife Sandy has slowly confronted reconfiguring the space in their home that includes her late husband’s work. For now, his studio space is less of a work space and more a storage unit. “You know, it’s been four years since Bill passed away,” she says, “and I’m still trying to figure out what to do … Because I want to have people come to visit the studio again.”

Business District TUPELO First TVA City

the Tupelo First TVA City neon sign, 2019

Among The High’s acquisitions last year, an important Ruth Clement Bond TVA quilt. This via Artfix, though just to note, the one at the TVA site doesn’t seem to depict what we usually think of as a banjo — I’d go with a guitar:

In July, the High purchased an exceptionally rare “Tennessee Valley Authority” quilt (designed 1934, made ca. 1937), featuring a design by Ruth Clement Bond (American, 1904-2005) and made by an unknown quilter from the Pickwick Dam Negro Women’s Association. One of only six known examples of this design, the quilt is full of symbols, including a sun, vegetation and a banjo — a likely deliberate reference to the African-derived musical instrument that came to the United States with enslaved people. 

…and…this correspondence from Dr. Maurice Seay, who was gifted one of the TVA quilts in appreciation for his work there, notes it as a guitar, as noted by the presenter, the president of the association. Maybe this one is different, though.

BTW, the NYT obit for Ms Bond in 2005 notes:

Designed by her, the quilts were sewn in rural Alabama by the wives of African-American workers building dams there for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Visually arresting and contemporary-looking even today, the T.V.A. quilts are considered pivotal in the history of American quiltmaking.

While most quilts of the period were based on the traditional geometric and floral designs that had endured for more than a century, the T.V.A. quilts are dynamic works of modern art.

Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah GA

the Kessler Mansion on Forsyth Park, from a stay in 2019

Kessler is offering buyouts of their hotel properties for events, or just whatever. From their email:

Enjoy private access to our entire property—whether unwinding in our elegant guest rooms, sampling award-winning cuisine at our inspired restaurants or browsing one-of-a-kind works of art in our galleries. 

Intersect by Lexus in NY is now hosting Savannah’s The Grey for delivery and carryout there, January 21-24. Copies of Bailey and Morisano’s new memoir/cookbook, “The Black, The White and The Grey” (via Bookshop, via Amazon) will be available with three-course meals.

The meals are $65pp and the meat option includes smoked catfish dip (hardboiled eggs, cornichons, rye crackers), yardbird (garlic trencher, captain sauce), and devil’s food cake (whipped cream, candied pecans, bittersweet chocolate). That all comes alongside sourdough bread, collards, and pickles.

I’m trying to come up with what a garlic trencher is, and it’s something like bread-as-plate and so — is it like the slice underneath beef tournedos (which, I kid you not, my friends and I still like to joke about how we’re going to order the “steak tornados” when the waiter comes by, because we’re still 12 on the inside)?

Also: The Grey’s Salted Honey Chess Pie recipe is here

Lusco's, Greenwood MS

the separated dining rooms at Lusco’s in Greenwood, from a visit in 2016

The Grey is doing outdoor dining with yurts and I’m suddenly thinking of how perfect the setups at Lusco’s and Giardina’s are for people who are comfortable with eating inside.

BTW, the Grey’s yurts are part of an AmEx + Resy program called Yurt Villages, and others doing it:

Super Random Section: 

Mixtape at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas begins Feb 6 and runs through Sept 26 this year is an exhibit — a “compilation of ‘tracks'” made up of items pulled from the permanent collection. Nasher felt the need to explain mixtapes:  Nasher Mixtape takes its title from a practice, born in the 1980s, of selecting a sequence of songs from different sources and recording them on a single audio cassette. Writer Nick Hornby compared making a mixtape to writing a letter: “[There’s] a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again.” A labor of love and a versatile creative activity, the mixtape has survived into the digital era in many different forms.

The WSJ with A Professional Photographer Builds a Picture Perfect Loft in Northern Alabama, and they’re talking about Robert Rausch‘s home studio

The 1901 Crisco House in Macon GA (so named because the gentleman who owned it created…) is on the market at $1.65M. It was sold in the 19-teens to William Jordan Massee Sr., “Big Daddy,” who *may* have been the inspiration for *that* Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And how over-the-top wonderful is it that there’s a fireplace at the grand staircase landing (pic 15)?

I missed this from last year, but Mississippi’s Amy Miller won Huntsman’s (very traditional English, bespoke, equestrian/sport) annual tweed competition

Smithsonian on The History of Charleston in Three Mouthwatering Meals for a March 23 event they’re co-sponsoring with the Chas C&VB. Foods to expect? Shrimp and grits, red rice, and berbere spiced salmon

Asheville NC has a Zelda Fitzgerald Week in March, and this year’s event concludes with excerpts of the musical based on her life (which was created by Roger Cook (who wrote “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”) and the late Les Reed)

Penta on Bank of America’s Masterpiece Moments series of videos of works from museums across the US

Yet another Derby Pie trademark lawsuit

The Gordon Parks: Segregation Story in Mobile, 1956 exhibit opened January 16 and runs through September 5 this year

These free to print retro-future posters from NASA JPL

Austin’s Lonnie Dillard obit goes viral

This piece is a couple of years old, but Wild Photos of Louisiana’s Rural Mardi Gras

Wild Ground Alabama restorative sanctuary for caregivers

(hi, I mentioned this was the super random section) Realizing it’s J. Crew Factory, but when they’re selling It’s Fall Y’all tees with a leaf as the apostrophe, J. Crew forgot who J. Crew is. Instead, someone should have ordered a (beloved) Tweeds catalog from the 80s off eBay and just copied everything. Ugh. As an aside, the (formerly J. Crew) Jenna Lyons show on HBO Max is a little frustrating (y’all put a ping pong table by that big glass-front china cabinet!? The Baccarat collection we inherited from Aunt Pearlie is in there!) but mostly wunderbar

Really, really like this wheel-thrown colander by potter Jake Johnson, at the Southern Highland Craft Guild

Beignets, minus powdered sugar, plus icing glaze, from Antoine’s in Gretna

Wow at these 2018 pics of an abandoned house in (I think) Birmingham with the indoor pool, velvet rope stair railing, and so much vintage glam that’s just gone awry, and whuuut is with this one in Chattanooga

Here’s Gehry’s design for the 150 anniversary decanter for Hennessy X.O cognac and if there’s a part of you that’s like “I wonder if it’s going to evoke crumpled up aluminum foil…” well…

In 2015, Matthew Teague’s piece in Esquire, The Friend: Love is Not a Big Enough Word about his wife’s terminal illness, and their mutual friend, has been expanded and made into a movie. In the NYT, a story — When Some Critics Reject the Film that’s about Your Life — about how the film (shot in Fairhope AL, where Matthew still lives) has been largely panned by media outlets though audiences have been more kind, and what that’s like for him. It’s being released in theaters and streaming today.

Variations on king cake can get a little weird, sometimes tiresome because whoever is trying too hard, but the sushi king cake at Rock-n-Sake looks fun

Salsa macha, yeah

Freddy Mamani is the “King of Andean Architecture” — he’s featured in the new Beatrice Galilee book, Radical Architecture of the Future (via Amazon), and here’s why. Interview with the book’s author here at AD

Hmmm going to have to check out the Jewish Cowboy popup in Nashville with the cornbread latkes made with Marsh Hen Mill Jimmy Red cornmeal

Galerie with a small piece titled How History Continues to Influence the Rich Design Legacy of New Orleans with mentions, among others, of Bevolo, Andrew Hopkins, The Chloe.

“Vieux Carré lights have that little post that runs across,” explains the third-generation leader of Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights. “It’s called a ladder rack, because you had to lean the ladder against it when you lit the gas.”

National Shrine of Saint Roch

from a visit to the National Shrine of Saint Roch, 2013

Back in September, the Historic New Orleans Collection did a post about Five Real New Orleans Stories that Should be Made into Movies, one being the story of St Roch Chapel:

In 1868, New Orleans was gripped by a grave yellow fever outbreak…Rev. Peter Leonard Thevis, who preached at the Holy Trinity Church (which is now the Marigny Opera House) sought to protect his parishioners from the outbreak. Thevis made an appeal to Saint Roch, patron saint of the diseased and disabled, who achieved his sainthood amidst the Black Death.  

Thevis prayed to Saint Roch—commonly invoked against plagues—to heal the sick in his church, promising to erect a chapel in the saint’s honor. Miraculously, no one in Thevis’ church succumbed to yellow fever. Thevis, making good on his promise, laid the cornerstone of what would become the St. Roch Chapel on September 6, 1875, and the legendary St. Roch Cemetery soon sprang up beside it. For generations, the cured left tokens—also known as ex-votos—such as crutches, prosthetic limbs, and even dentures on the altar in the chapel. The ex-votos serve as an offering for a cure or improved health. 

We still leave those today.

I was reading Eudora Welty: On William Faulkner (at Lemuria, this limited edition, via Amazon), and in it she told an interviewer in 1972:

I used to take a lot of the state newspapers and in the old days I loved to read the Oxford Eagle. There was one woman whose name kept turning up there, but I always felt any name around Oxford was automatically the property of Mr. Faulkner. He had such perfect names. I don’t know if this is true, but somebody once told me they mentioned a name to Mr. Faulkner and he said, “Yes, I know the name well. Can hardly wait for her to die” so he could use it. 

Gypsy Lou Webb, co-publisher of literary magazine The Outsider (in its pages, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Bukowski), one-of-a-kind, inspiration for Bob Dylan’s Gypsy Lou (above, a cover of it), passed away earlier this month in Slidell.

From Vice in 2013, A Pilgrimage to Gypsy Lou Webb, New Orleans’ Patron Saint of Literature (which shows she wasn’t particularly romantic about certain things: on her outfits, she says, “when you’re selling paintings, you talk funny, you look funny, the whole damn thing. Those days are done.”” and on living in New Orleans, “I don’t want to live in the French Quarter! I lived there for 32 years! I’ve had enough of it!”).

On Bukowski:

Lou’s eyes widened like she must be misunderstanding this woman: A show about me? She looked back down at the program and pointed out a photo of her husband’s old printing press. “The University of Tulane gave him that press,” she remembered. “He tried to give them money for it. They didn’t want to take it. But they took it.” She pointed to another photo: “And that’s Charles Bukowski. Went by the name of Hank. That was one hell of a nice guy. He drank a lot.”

Mosca's, Westwego LA

Chicken a la Grande, from a visit in 2017

Mosca’s Chicken a la Grande recipe at the Washington Post

Loretta Lynn in Concert, Alabama Theatre, Birmingham AL

from a concert at the Alabama Theatre, 2007

Celebrating 50 years of the album Coal Miner’s Daughter, MCA Nashville will reissue it on black vinyl Feb 12. New album out March 19. Here’s her new recitation of the song:

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) Target Bldg, Mulga AL

the Noli Me Tangere building in Mulga AL, 2020

The Marathon Mini Target is Gone, Long Live the Marathon Mini Target at Texas Monthly:

While the Prada Marfa stands as highbrow, moneyed commentary on consumerism, stocked with real designer handbags and armed with a security system, the ramshackle railroad structure slapped with a Target logo like an afterthought served as its sillier, more accessible (and theoretically affordable) counterpart. 

Courtyard at St. James Hotel, Selma AL

the St James’ courtyard, from a stay in 2005

The St James Hotel in Selma is part of the Hilton Tapestry collection, and is accepting reservations for stays beginning January 26

Herbert Buchsbaum’s My Search for Lost Time in a Slice of Jewish Rye at the NYT

“My wife wisely suggested that perhaps the best rye was whichever one you grew up with. I’m sure there’s truth to that. Especially if you grew up in Savannah when Gottlieb’s was around.”

Firing Line, with William F. Buckley and guests Eudora Welty and Walker Percy. I remember from reading Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald (via Bookshop, via Amazon) that she wasn’t crazy about this appearance, though she did just fine

Smoked turkey legs have long been a thing at fairs and amusement parks, but they’ve epicuriously (ha I don’t that’s a word, but you’ll see) leveled up. At Texas Monthly:

…massive smoked turkey legs stuffed with mac and cheese and your choice of chopped brisket, smoked sausage, fried chicken, or fried shrimp. When they say stuffed, what they and every other restaurant mean is that the turkey legs are smothered with a combination of toppings. The legs may be falling-apart tender, but they’re not deboned or actually filled with the ingredients. If you don’t like different foods on your plate mixed together, this trend isn’t for you.

Our Very Poor English (but we love it) Congrats Cake

Shugie & Cake

Congrats Cake

Haha! We like to joke around with each other and in honor of Shugie winning the District Spelling Bee, I made him a cake with some very poor English on top (and we cut it the new way, by taking inverted wine glasses and scooping it straight up/down (you can prob figure out which was Shug’s piece)). We’ve had a great week and are looking forward to some relaxing outdoor time this weekend. Hope you’re doing really, really well and making some fun plans. xoxo!

Accidental Finds & The Best Known

Though I research graveshelters and have different methods for finding them, pretty much nothing in the search is better than just driving by one completely by surprise.

First, though, the best-known one in Alabama, Airmount, Also known as the Hope family grave shelter, it’s in the Thomasville area, and was built in 1853 by a member of the family. In 2000, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The roof that covers it now belies the barrel shape of the ceiling inside.

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

The graveshelter itself is approx 23′ 5″ by 12′ 4″.

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

This barrel-like shape is a vault also called a “compass” ceiling, and this graveshelter is the only known use of this style in the southern half of Alabama. From the NRHP application:

The roof design traces its origin to east coast rural churches like Christ Church of Laurel, Delaware; Merchant’s Hope Church of Prince George County, Virginia; and (to a lesser extent) Yeocomico Church of Westmoreland County, Virginia…Only Christ Church, Laurel, Delaware, does not have tie beams and in this respect it may be the best structural precedent for the Airmount Grave Shelter.

Roofing the grave shelter with a church roof type, though unusual, would have been comprehensible to some antebellum Alabamians, since burials of the eighteenth century were sometimes placed within churches. The permanence that the brick structure implies fits well within the funerary attitudes of South Alabama planters in the early- and mid-nineteenth centuries.

Although many of these planters lived in sometimes less than enduring frame houses, substantial and oftentimes elaborate brick, limestone, and marble monuments intended to last for a very long time are common markers of their graves. The abodes of the departed were often more elaborate or monumental than the abodes of the living in antebellum South Alabama. Why display in death was often more marked than conspicuous consumption in life has yet to be sufficiently answered. One explanation is that since monuments were more portable than dwellings, a higher level of design was accessible to the settlers of Alabama in their grave markers than in their houses…

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

There are four marble obelisks inside along with a more modern granite monument.

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

As an aside, look at all the mud dauber pipe organ nests

Airmount Grave Shelter, Thomasville AL

This is the Smith graveshelter at New Home Baptist Church Cemetery in the Bankhead National Forest, in Winston County AL.

Smith Graveshelter, New Home Baptist Church, Houston AL

Smith Graveshelter, New Home Baptist Church, Houston AL

Smith Graveshelter, New Home Baptist Church, Houston AL

Behind, this buggy for cemetery flowers

New Home Baptist Church Cemetery, Houston AL

New Home Baptist Church Cemetery, Houston AL

New Home Baptist Church Cemetery, Houston AL

New Home Baptist Church Cemetery, Houston AL

One other interesting find — these pyramid-shaped cairn (stacked rock) monuments at the Hayden Cemetery in New Hope, AL:

Hayden Cemetery, New Hope AL

Hayden Cemetery, New Hope AL

This is a carport-style Prescott family graveshelter at Antioch Primitive Baptist Church in Elba, Alabama

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

Graveshelter, Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

Graveshelter, Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

The infant monument here in the middle spells the last name with two S, different than all the others

Graveshelter, Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

And particularly nice, this very roomy structure for dinner on the grounds (it’s said so interchangeably, I think an equal number of people in fact probably call it ‘dinner on the grounds’ as often as ‘dinner on the ground’)

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, Elba AL

I’ve spent several years documenting all the graveshelters in Alabama, and have visited 45 extant examples (there’s still a handful that I’ve researched and need to check on). Do you know of a graveshelter? Please contact me if so. Thank you!

Beach Thanksgiving

We spent part of Thanksgiving Day in Mobile; downtown was just absolutely deserted. We dropped by the A-frame Whataburger — there aren’t too many of this design left any more. As of right now, there are ~850 locations, and only a very small percentage of those — a dozen or so? — are still the A-frame. Even the original in Odessa has been updated to a new look. This is the latest concept.

A-frame Whataburger, Mobile AL

Government Street UMC:

Government Street UMC, Mobile AL

Government Street UMC, Mobile AL

Oaks, Mobile AL

Besides downtown, we went out to Ahavas Chesed cemetery, where we have family. One monument from another family made me just spontaneously burst into tears. So sad and romantic at the same time:

Ahavas Chesed Cemetery, Mobile AL

Tell Ruth I Love Her, Ahavas Chesed Cemetery, Mobile AL

Tell Ruth I Love Her


WMOB 1360, Mobile AL

Then, to walk downtown Fairhope, which was decorated so pretty, and kitty showed us around

Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope’s indie bookshop, Page & Palette

Page & Palette, Fairhope AL

Winston Groom’s plaque

Page & Palette, Fairhope AL

Other shops had their window displays up for the holidays and next year I’m taking allllll the inspiration from this look for Chanukah wrapping when we’ll hopefully have just a ton of friends over

Window Display, Fairhope AL

After we’d walked all of downtown Fairhope, we were off to a roadside stand with satsumas and kumquats, handily sorted by sour and sweet

Satsumas and Kumquats, Fairhope AL

Satsumas and Kumquats, Fairhope AL

haaaa even the sweet ones were just crazy sour

In Pensacola, we got a cooler full of fish/seafood from Joe Patti’s, and McGuire’s was set up outside to hand out takeout orders.

Joe Patti's, ship, Pensacola FL

Takeout from McGuire's, Pensacola FL

We weren’t quite ready to come home, so the day before, I used more Hilton points to reserve a balcony room at the Hampton Inn in Ft Walton Beach

Hampton Inn, Ft Walton Beach FL

Well, we’d already had a great beach time in Orange Beach, so I wasn’t too concerned about the balcony view at this hotel since it was just going to be one night and I chiefly wanted a balcony so I could leave a door to the outside open for an hour to give the room good fresh air circulation.

When the room description noted that the balcony view was essentially no view, there was truth in advertising 😂😂😂

Haaaa our amazing balcony view, Hampton Inn, Ft Walton Beach FL

Ft Walton Beach FL

This Hampton (above, squatty, in the middle) was positively dinky but we didn’t care — it felt free (since I was using points), we’d already had a great balcony at the previous hotel, and we were there to be outside the room anyway, on the beach. It was fine.

Shug and Shugie, Ft Walton Beach FL

Ft Walton Beach FL

Shug and Shugie, Ft Walton Beach FL

Ft Walton Beach FL

Leaving, there was a drive on 30A, then time to go home. We came back new people, fine with lots more home nesting. A fab trip.

Vincent Scully mural, Seaside FL

Alys Beach


Talking about those Doubletree cookies in the earlier post this week from the Island House got me thinking…

…made a half batch last night — they were great (here’s the official Hilton recipe from their site)

Homemade Doubletree Cookies

Quick Beach Trip: Orange Beach AL

We decided to take a quick trip to the beach over Thanksgiving holiday. We purposefully weren’t getting together with any family, and I felt as though we’d surely go batty if we stayed here at home rather than driving down to the water for something fun that we haven’t done in months. This is the first time we’ve spent the night in a hotel since…Feb? I’ve been so full of paranoia that I know I haven’t been in a dozen buildings counting our house and the homes of the two other households in our ‘pod’ since March. We needed this.

I was careful to clean, we wore masks for the first hour or so that we were in the hotel room, and each time I left the balcony door for an hour or so when we first got there for lots of good fresh air circulation.

Island House Doubletree Hotel, Orange Beach, Alabama

First leg was at the Doubletree Island House hotel in Orange Beach. The rooms have this Hilton CleanStay sticker on the doors:

Island House Doubletree Hotel, Orange Beach, Alabama

Island House Doubletree Hotel, Orange Beach, Alabama

I paid for the room with Hilton points, and they all have beach-front balconies, so it was perfect. Because Hilton has keyless room entry, I didn’t even have to visit the front desk to get in the room.

Island House Doubletree Hotel, Orange Beach, Alabama

Since it’s a Doubletree, this was a thing (and Hilton released the official Doubletree cookie recipe earlier this year).

Island House Doubletree Hotel, Orange Beach, Alabama

The balcony view was positively dreamy

Orange Beach, Alabama

Anyway, the beach was terrific as always. The boys got in the water a little too (it was late-November cool but not crazy cold)

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

All the food we ate was either from a drive-thru or some that I had packed in a cooler (saddest Thanksgiving meal ever that we made the best of (and I think we were filled with so much gratitude of being somewhere fun that we didn’t even think about it at the time) was the turkey sandwiches on white bread straight from the Igloo from home that was our Thanksgiving supper. May that forever be our last Thanksgiving from a Ziploc bag. Amen and amen.).

We played outside, we walked quiet downtowns, we positively frolicked on the beach. It was terrific. Tomorrow, I’ll post part two of this trip: Mobile, Fairhope’s downtown and its kitty welcoming committee, our balcony without a view in Ft Walton Beach, some 30A, and more. xoxo!