This Week’s Various

As always, all images here unless otherwise noted are copyright DeepFriedKudzu. Like to use one? Contact me first.

Overlooked Appalachian Lit: Six Contemporary Southern Books Everyone Should Read includes one now on my current library list: Turn me loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, poems by Frank X. Walker. From Electric Literature:

This is a brave and immeasurably important book told in the voices of Evers’s widow Myrlie, Evers’s brother, as well as in the voices of Evers’s murderer Byron De La Beckwith and his wives.

Yes to the Costello home in the Garden District (esp the porch), photographed for NYT’s T Magazine.

HBO True Detective Location of Burnt Church Season 1//
above: from a ride we made to see some of last season’s True Detective locations

Brett Anderson’s *wonderful* longread, Louisiana Loses its Boot, just won excellence in journalism award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation

On our map, the real map, the boot appears as if it came out on the wrong side of a battle with a lawnmower’s blades. It loses a painful chunk off its heel in Cameron and Vermilion parishes. A gash cutting off the bird’s-foot delta, where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico, from the center of the state is reason to consider amputation. Barataria Bay has joined forces with Bay Dosgris to take over Lake Salvador. Golden Meadow, Galliano, Montegut: They’re barely there, clinging to strands of earth as flimsy as dental floss. Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne form a contiguous mass flowing into the gulf.

Kevin Gillespie’s new meat-and-three restaurant, Revival, will open July 23. His recipe for fatback fried corn is up on his site.

Johnny Depp, Richard Branson to Develop Drama Series Based on Music Documentary ‘Muscle Shoals’

Pecan Party Biscuits//
above: little pecan party biscuits

Vanity Fair on In a Post–Paula Deen World, Can the Lee Brothers Save Southern Cooking? Plus, why does Southern food in New York always have to be “elevated”?

Does Southern cooking need the Lee Brothers to save it? But as to the second point on ‘elevating’ — well, indeed.

Welcome Table New Orleans

“I didn’t really have a clear expectation,” said Carol Carter, a representative of the Algiers circle. “I know I came in very cynical and the reason I started was because I found myself in a very cynical, pessimistic conversation with a few other people about what a white dude from Mississippi could do for racial reconciliation in our city…It was a very difficult process. I expected to be frustrated, and I was. I was expecting to be angry, and I was. And a lot of times I was exhausted and ready to let it go. But it challenged me. It changed, it transcended the way I thought about myself and my perceptions of race and how I saw other people.”

…At the very end of his last interview, DeBerry asked participants to indicate, with a show of hands, whether they would do the program over again. Every single person on stage raised her hand.

YES to the PBS Online Film Festival. Two entries are from Louisiana: “Disorder” and

At ESPN: Out of Thin Air: After a life of football, Joe Namath fears he has brain damage. But he’s sold on a dubious treatment — and wants others to buy in too.

Namath’s eyes sadden a bit as he pauses at a treatment bay where a patient is groaning in distress. “I’ll tell you what,” he sighs, a familiar dollop of Alabama still sweetening his phrasing five decades after his college days with Bear Bryant, who called him the greatest athlete he ever coached. “You see what some of these folks have to go through and you think, ‘There but for the grace of G-d …'”

Namath’s mission nowadays is to give concussion victims reason for hope beyond divine intervention.

Watermelons at Birmingham Farmer's Market, B'ham AL//
above: Finley Avenue Farmers Market in Birmingham

In Taiwan, Bread Looks Like Watermelons

But the watermelon toast does not just appeal to children. It’s become a cultural craze and an Instagram sensation. The bakery sells about 1,500 of these vividly colored slices a day, and customers line up at 11AM every morning, though they could just order the loaves online.

Futuro Spaceship House, Pensacola Beach, FL//
above: the Futuro house in Pensacola Beach

Texas artist Esther Pearl Wilson — from the Star-Telegram:

Watson’s father was like Auriti, building fantastical things in the family’s yard. The senior Watson’s specialty was spaceships that he was sure he could sell to the government or to Ross Perot once he figured out how to get them aloft.

Watson grew up with this. Her family was that family on the block. They moved frequently.

This unique family dynamic gave Watson a great back story, and she frequently incorporates it into what she calls her memory paintings. She intentionally paints in this style because it succinctly defines the childhood interpretation of events.

Pasture Cows Crossing Indian Creek is set near Comanche, where her grandfather had a ranch. Here is a herd of cows crossing the creek and a spaceship hovering over the landscape. Children frolic, horses gambol, cotton-ball clouds float in a perfectly blue sky and someone is fixing fence — someone always has to fix fence on a ranch.

above: Lasyone’s in Natchitoches

James Lasyone passed away June 25. Meat pie pioneer’s legacy lives on in Natchitoches

Sacred Harp Singing School at Cane Creek School, Tannehill, McCalla AL//
above: Sacred Harp singing school at Tannehill

The Santa Fe Opera will be performing the world premiere of ‘Cold Mountain,’ an opera by Jennifer Higdon based on the novel by Charles Frazier — and they’ve already added another performance to the schedule.  They will also release a recording.

Food and Wine interviewed people about the best foods to cure a broken heart. Bourbon wins.

Winterville Mounds, Near Greenville MS//
above: Winterville Mounds

From MDAH: The Mississippi Department of Archives and History will use $300,000 made available by the 2015 Mississippi Legislature to restore Winterville Mounds to its pre-Columbian appearance.

Taqueria Jalisco, Chattanooga TN//
above: green, but no green peas (from Taqueria Jalisco, Chattanooga)

Last Thanksgiving, the NYT gave the world #grapegate. Now, it advises putting green peas in guacamole. No thanks. #guacgate

An interview at WABE Atlanta with Alysia Burton Steele on her book, Delta Jewels:

All of the photographs were shot in black and white. The life of the oldest subject, 103-year-old Leola Dillard of Yazoo City, Mississippi, reflects the dramatic journey for African Americans in the South in her lifetime.

Steele said Dillard was thrown off a plantation because she refused to have her children pick cotton, preferring instead for them to go to school.

Her overseer took everything from her, even a mule, but Dillard said it was the best decision she ever made. All of her children have masters degrees and one has a doctorate.

Above: plant vendor at the Montgomery Curb Market

At Roads and Kingdoms: Alabama Bakes:

But the true Alabama biscuit experience I’ve envisioned is much more like Debra Morrison’s Debra’s Lunch-to-go at the Montgomery Curb Market. It’s a low-slung building near the capitol, where the tables are crowded with Zip-Loc bags full of biscuits and crockpots overflow with soups and casseroles Morrison makes every morning. When I visit, the air in the farmer’s market is heavy with humidity, compelling hungry customers to mop their foreheads with their sleeves.

Also from Roads and Kingdoms, a writer who doesn’t like press trips and doesn’t like the idea of going to Branson takes a press trip to Branson. You can imagine the rest.

Marlene, the New York-based writer squeezed between us, said to me: “After this trip, when I meet a believer, I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, one of those.’” This was that rare press trip in which the exotic could be found not just in your surroundings but in the person sitting next to you.

A Few Miles from Mobile, A Wealth of History, Nature — and Danger from NPR:

“The palmetto fronds make all this racket when you touch them,” he explains, “and that’s how you can tell the wild hogs are coming. So when you hear that, get up in a tree, because they’ve got teeth like a German shepherd and there are a lot of them.”

Lay’s is doing a promotion on ‘Do Us A Flavor’ asking people to come up with the newest novelty potato chip flavors.  Among the four finalists: Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and New York Reuben.

Zatarain’s just opened a $26MM facility in Gretna, and toasted it with (what else?) their root beer.

Red’s Chinese in the Bywater changed the name of their General Lee’s chicken for obvious reasons.

Old Monroe County Courthouse - To Kill A Mockingbird//
Above: Old Monroe County Courthouse

Ooooh the ‘Go Set a Watchman’ links. Even the crazy ones.

Smithsonian: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t in the Town that Inspired TKAM (The story is its own thing, but the picture of Barbara in the window at Mel’s should be in an exhibit somewhere.)

Wayne Flynt reports that Nelle Harper Lee is a bit ‘overwhelmed’ about all the attention
TKAM Actress wants you to give Watchman a Chance
In The New Yorker: Sweet Home Alabama
At NPR: Harper Lee’s ‘Watchman’ Is A Mess That Makes Us Reconsider A Masterpiece
At Quartz: See where ‘Go Set a Watchman’ overlaps with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ word-for-word
Time’s original review of the TKAM movie
Reviewed at the NYT: Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ Gives Atticus Finch a Dark Side
At the NY Post: Rivalry and Racism — What Really Happened Behind the Scenes of ‘Mockingbird’
In The Guardian: ‘The Book that Taught me how to Read’: Your Stories about TKAM
Slate, really reaching: How Parents Who Named Their Kids ‘Atticus’ Feel
The LA Times on how to celebrate TKAM and GSAW
HuffPo: Harper Lee May Have Written Third Book, Lawyer Says
The NYT: The Invisible Hand Behind Harper Lee’s TKAM
The Scout and Jem spec homes in California (modernist, mostly yawnish)
Through July 19, 24 artists have work inspired by Nelle Harper Lee on display at The Book Tavern in Augusta.

And maybe the Onion gets it completely right.

LA Magazine calls a restaurant ‘Southern Gothic’ — even after reading the piece, trying to determine what exactly they think makes it so.  There is heavy pressed glass, wallpaper, a doily, and antlers in one photograph.  And smoked mullet on the menu.  Is it that easy?

At NPR: What Happened to the 9-year-old Smoking in Mary Ellen Mark’s Photo?

In light of Mark’s passing, NPR sought to find out more about the two children in the photograph, particularly Amanda: Why was she smoking and wearing makeup and fake nails at age 9? What does she remember of the photo shoot? And what has happened since that sunny afternoon in 1990?

…In 1990, Mark had been sent to rural North Carolina by Life magazine to cover a school for “problem children.” Ellison was one of those children. “She’s my favourite,” Mark told British Vogue in 1993. “She was so bad she was wonderful, she had a really vulgar mouth, she was brilliant.”

“When she came along and took those photos, I thought, ‘Well, hey, people will see me and this may get me the attention that I want; it may change things for me,’ ” Ellison says. She thought someone would see the images and come rescue her. “I had thought that that might have been the way out. But it wasn’t.”

Waffle House//
above: from a Waffle House in Birmingham

Wasn’t such a big surprise that there was prayer at a shift-change at a Front Beach Road Waffle House in PCB (though the photo was widely shared on FB), rather that the two Waffle Houses there are ‘neck and neck for the busiest Waffle House locations in the country.’

Also: San Antonio is all about getting a Waffle House but oddly a very small group behind the idea decided to mysteriously start hating on migas via Twitter.

Scott Jurek became the fastest person to finish the Appalachian Trail, in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes. It starts in Georgia and ends in *Maine*.

Do you know how much the average cost of meals prisoners eat at the Morgan County, Alabama jail (prison?) is? $.58. And this is what that looks like.

From NPR this week, the lunch Nixon had the day he resigned the presidency looked like it cost about the same as above.

Frank Fleming//
above: this Frank Fleming piece was on display on a visit made to Southern Living in 2009

It’s actually good news this time when using ‘Time’ + ‘Southern Living’ + ‘Birmingham’ in the same sentence. From the NYT:
…moving almost all its recipe testing and other food editorial production for its 29 domestic magazines and websites to Birmingham, Ala., where it is building a food studio with 28 test kitchens, a dozen photography studios and a private dining room.

The multimillion-dollar investment in the complex is part of a renewed commitment to food coverage for the nation’s largest magazine publisher, whose publications include People, Real Simple, Essence, Sports Illustrated and Travel & Leisure. Though some test kitchens in New York will close as a result, the move is seen as an expansion that will add about 44 jobs.

above: a text I sent Av once to let him know I was all…you know…settled in (daiquiri set) for the show…

At Munchies, New Orleans’ Daiquiri Culture.
Know why the AMC Palace 20 in Harahan rocks? Movies and daiquiris.

St. Roch Market drama:

Antigravity slams it, complete with keywords: bait and switch, Landreiu, SNAP, sales tax legality

From another angle: the operators’ interview at

Maggie's Diner, Tuscaloosa AL//
above: a lunch at Maggie’s

Maggie’s Diner in Tuscaloosa closed.

Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, MS//
above: Tunica

Great read: An Opportunity Gamed Away: For a county in the Deep South that reaped millions from casino business, poverty is still its spin of the wheel

With casino revenues dwindling, the county needed to quickly cut its own expenses, something it is still struggling to do.

“We are literally living check to check,” said Thompson. “Like a poor family.”

Thompson, 37, who was raised poor in Memphis, recently stumbled upon the “60 Minutes” segment on YouTube . Tunica, in his eyes, still had a version of the same problems.

“I had all types of emotions,” Thompson said of the video. “Anger. Sadness. Disbelief. All of that. Mad at the fact that this stuff used to go on like this. Sad at the fact that it has gone on for so long. And disbelief that it’s still going on today.”

above: in the Quarter

Susan Spicer’s mint julep ice cream recipe

above: let’s just put a setting of oak tree laden with resurrection fern and that will = Southern Gothic, right?

10 Books from the Not So Beautiful South — sit here another five seconds and you can come up with seven or eight on this list — from Irish Times, which states ‘With Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman out next Tuesday, southern gothic literature is having a moment’.

Wondering when exactly Southern Gothic as a genre has *not* had a moment.

Speaking of literature, Ross Douthat’s op-ed at the NYT in For the South, Against the Confederacy:

Others are those features of Southern culture that can make the rest of America seem dull or flat or hollowed-out by comparison: The literature and poetry, the music in all its varied forms, the religious and metaphysical horizons, the folkways and the manners, the food (the food, the food), everything about Louisiana…

above: at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta

The Guardian with Reading American Cities: Books about Atlanta

Crystal Grill, Greenwood MS//
above: Crystal Grill and its signage from 2005

The Amzie Moore House Renovation/Restoration won the Mississippi Main Street Association ‘Best Cultural Tourism Project,’ and ‘Best New Signage’ went to the Crystal Grill.

Clothesline, Amish Community of Ethridge TN//
above: clothesline in Tennessee Amish community

Increasing Tension Over Some Amish Beliefs as Communities Grow, from Al Jazeera.

Buzzfeed on ‘Everything You Don’t Know About the Real Colonel Sanders‘ which is actually a bit more interesting than one might think.  Because, you know, he was delivering babies at one point.  Still, that Darrell Hammond accent that’s on the KFC commercials right now is a mess.

Inside Grand Opera House (Under Renovation), Meridian MS//
above: inside the Grand Opera House in Meridian, before the renovation

Yes, yes, yes — from the Daily Tarheel:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endowed UNC’s Southern Folklore Collection with a $986,000 grant on June 29 that the collection will use to continue the digitization of the UNC libraries’ collection of folklore field recordings, including rare pieces of audio, video and motion picture films. The project will take start in August.

White sauce…not Big Bob Gibson-type white chicken sauce, but apparently in the South, hibachi restaurants serve a different, sweet-mayonnaise type white sauce that’s much more popular here than elsewhere. From the Post and Courier:

True connoisseurs – and the Lowcountry is home to many – rate Japanese steakhouses on the strength of their white sauce.

“What is it about the white sauce?,” a hibachi server in Asheville once asked me.

Interestingly, nobody’s certain of white sauce’s provenance. I’ve consulted Benihana and various commercial producers, and it’s unclear how the salad dressing became a hibachi fixture. Mayonnaise is hugely popular in Japan, so maybe its inclusion isn’t so far-fetched: Japanese eaters slather mayo on their pizza. They mix mayonnaise into their fermented soybeans and spread it on fried eggs, which arguably makes the condiment every bit as “authentic” as the ginger sauce and mustard central to New York hibachi culture.

The South, of course, likes mayonnaise too. Now’s the season for sliced tomato sandwiches and picnic tables set with cold chicken and devilled eggs.

In the realm of regional food, white sauce has it all: A hazy history; contention about who makes it best and charms lost on eaters elsewhere. The South ought to be proud to claim it.

Pine Burr Quilt//
above: detail of a Pine Burr quilt, from the collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art

“Gateway crafting”: New director of Folk School of Chattanooga seeking to broaden offerings, relocate facility

Georgia Peach Cobbler at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta GA//
above: the peach cobbler at Mary Mac’s in Atlanta

Ruston, Louisiana now holds the Guinness World Record for largest peach cobbler.  Also: shouldn’t somebody bring that record for largest fruit cake here to the US?

A 110-year-old woman (and beautiful Alabama native), thought to be the nation’s oldest veteran, is leaving today to visit Washington and meet the president.

There are more synchronous lightning bugs than we thought, many in eastern Tennessee.

“They appeared by the hundreds, blinking in perfect synchronicity,” Shaw said. “I counted 30 to 40 blinks in a row, all in sync, and at the rate of about two blinks per second.”

This June Shaw expanded his search for the snappy sync firefly. He got help. Joined by Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area manager Jim Evans, former TWRA employee Wade Gefellars, and several others, they called themselves the “Firefly Team,” and began scouting sites around the 37,000-acre reservation.

Of the 30 sites they visited, all but one were inhabited by snappy sync fireflies blinking in their characteristic rapid-fire pattern.

World Record Blue Catfish (mounting by Archie Phillips) at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL//
above: blue catfish at Ezell’s in Lavaca, Alabama

Meanwhile, in catfish news:

A man who has spent 24 years scanning Scotland’s Loch Ness for its legendary mysterious monster reckons Nessie is most likely a giant catfish — although he is not prepared to give up looking just yet.

above: Critz Campbell’s ‘Eudora’ Chair at the Mississippi Museum of Art

The NYT on Meanwhile there are Letters: the Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald

“Knocking and pounding and once hammering with a big mallet thing that looked like what clowns hit the other clowns over the head with … It was rather wonderful to learn what blue clay looks like — it’s the solid stuff that doesn’t move around … and it has small, whole seashells all through it. I knew the gulf had once covered us here, or more than once, and that whales swam in it — their bones have been unearthed — but these were just lovely little undisturbed seashells — I’ve been sleeping over them 35 feet down under me all these years.”

That voice — domestic, numinous, lightly tickled — isn’t too far removed from that of Ms. Welty’s fiction, but it is intended for an audience of one: a married guy in Santa Barbara, Calif., who might just have been the love of her life.

“I dreamed I was sending you the dream I was dreaming,” Ms. Welty wrote, “and that as I dreamed it you got it.”

Hunter Barnes Documents Serpent Handlers in Deeply Personal Photos in his new Roadbook out later this year.

So truly random:
Why Small Talk is so Excruciating
Yes, I signed up for Lena’s Lenny newsletter. Because oversharing.
Yelp review of the week, on the Zaxby’s in Jasper (first one on page, from Virginia K.): wait…what kind of sin?
Sometimes people have great gallery/exhibit show titles and Andrew Edlin’s Anthems for the Mother Earth Goddess is one of them.
From the AP: 22 Years a Slave
Married at exactly the right time

TV I’m watching: binge-watching Rectify on Netflix to catch up to the current season on Sundance. Southern done well.
Movie:In Search for General Tso on Netflix
Books: Proust’s Way: A Field Guide to ‘In Search of Lost Time’

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