As always, all images unless otherwise noted copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Like to use one elsewhere? Kindly contact me here.
St Louis Cathedral, 2006. Whitman: “Sundays I sometimes went forenoons to the old Catholic cathedral in the French Quarter”
Was reading Richard Horan’s Seeds: One Man’s Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty (via Bookshop, via Amazon) last week and was reminded that for a very short time in 1848, Walt Whitman lived in New Orleans. The book author mentions that in a PBS doc, there’s the idea that the city may have been the inspiration for Leaves of Grass (Bookshop, Amazon).
Even more importantly, Whitman experienced in New Orleans such an extraordinary diversity of peoples mingling on the streets that he began to devise a new aesthetic of urban democracy, of strangers from radically different worlds mingling if only for a moment on crowded streets, a vision that would shape his poetry ever after and become a towering monument in American poetry in general.
And: the earliest image of him, a daguerreotype, has been identified as having been made while he was in Louisiana.
In a letter to his mother, Walt’s 15yo brother Jeff, who came with him to New Orleans, writes (and notes in another letter that the whole state is level as a race course, and riding in balloons isn’t always easy):
New Orleans is a very level place and you do not dig down above two feet before you come to the water. It is also [a] very dirty place. Mother, I never wanted your cleanliness so much before as I did at our first boarding house, you could not only see the dirt, but you could taste it, and you had to too if you ate anything at all. And the rooms too, were covered with dirt an inch thick. But now we are through with all that. We are now living at the Tremont house, next door to the Theatre and directly opposite the office.
Also: at one time the newspaper there that the Whitmans worked for, the Daily Crescent, was managed by John Wesley Crockett, the son of…yep, Davy.
Music venue, Gordo AL, 2017
In normal years, the store, still crammed with faded boxes of bras and women’s pumps left from a generation ago when the business shut down, is revived once a week for the jam. Musicians stream into McClurg, about 240 miles southwest of St. Louis, on Monday nights, performing for friends and spouses. They play sitting in a circle, stealing glances at Mr. Dooms’s callused fingers to gauge where his rhythm guitar might go next.
The McClurg jam featured variations of songs that could not be heard elsewhere, he said. But the safety of the elder musicians, whom he describes as “treasures,” was paramount, he said.
Po Monkey’s, 2018
So, circling back to the big question: How many live blues juke joints are left in 2021? Honestly, we don’t know yet.
For those with a Clarion-Ledger subscription, here’s Mississippi’s Oldest Juke Joint Still a Hot Spot for the Blues, on the Blue Front
And: Photos for The Chitlin Circuit Juke Joints that gave rise to American Music at The Tennessean
Gorgeous St Mary Basilica in Natchez
This 1995 Southern Catfish Plate by Frank Fleming is in the collection of the Smithsonian
7 Texas Chefs Share their Favorite Sandwich Recipes at Texas Monthly: Misti Norris of Dallas’ Petra and the Beast goes with pork rillettes and collards, San Antonio’s John Russ of Clementine enjoys ‘The Tickler’ which is all about Tickler cheddar and shredded duck confit on sourdough
This is the new Rosa Parks sculpture created by Ian Mangum, a 42nd Force Support Squadron team member, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery
Paramount has a screenplay for a new adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but — and this is going to court — the Trustee of the Truman Capote Literary Trust is shopping it with the idea of a television series instead
(hi, I mentioned this is the super random section) the print on the Lilly Pulitzer + Honda Classic is soooo goood
This, about the top of our mothers’ dressers (go ahead and suspend calling the English police on the tweet, you’ll see, just kindly roll with it) gave me and others so much pause. My great-grandmother passed away while I was still very young. She was born in the 1890s (!) and I can still see in my mind the top of her dresser…her beautiful things arranged just so. I love thinking of those that way…as altars…pictures, perfumes, jewels…
One of my besties was chosen to be included in Harvard’s Staff Art Show. Was thrilled to be in the Zoom of the opening, and all the works can be viewed here
This 1937 menu from the Waldorf Astoria included Florida stone crabs, North Carolina salted pecans, Virginia suckling pig, Kentucky sweetmeats, Georgia collards, South Carolina candied yams, Alabama beaten biscuits, New Orleans (surely, chicory) coffee and Louisiana apple butter
A million apologies — I was brought up better than this — for the word on this 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle (how many people have ever gotten to say that?) but Fred has a series of artist puzzles and one of them is a — absolute Chattanooga treasure! — Wayne White design
The original moonshine of the Colonies? Applejack. And it’s being made again: Virginia and the Carolinas are as far south as most apple varieties can grow; they need a certain number of cold nights each year to flourish. It’s the land of dried apple hand pies, apple stack cakes, apple cider vinegar and applejack — all ways to preserve fall’s fruit for eating and drinking through the winter
Yes yes yes: 50 Years Later, We Need Rothko Chapel More Than Ever
There’s now a law in Southampton, New York that empty (for one month or greater) storefronts must mount installations by local artists for free
I figured the interwebs *had* to have a map of indie bookstores, and yep
Old Rock House Holiness Church, from a 2009 visit
From National Geographic this month, Appalachian snake handlers put their faith in God—and increasingly, doctors: After a number of high-profile deaths, some Pentecostal Christian snake handlers are rethinking their approach to a risky practice. Some of the pics in the article are from the Rock House Holiness Church in north Alabama; the church uses my pic above of their building as the header on their FB page
Hattie B’s, 2020
From the Dallas Morning News: Has Dallas hit peak chicken? A look at Nashville hot chicken’s North Texas takeover: Helen’s Hot Chicken. Sarah’s Hot Chicken. Lucky’s Hot Chicken. Palmer’s Hot Chicken. Are you catching the formula? — they name 12 existing hot chicken places, and another five to be opening soon.
BTW, there’s a new restaurant in Knoxville called Wicked Chicken which serves ‘hot chicken pimento cheese nachos‘ and alright, alright, I’ll have that.
John B’s “We’ve got the kid out bragging about it in front of the Little Caesars Pizza Hut” in Woodstock, Alabama, 2020.
The S-Town podcast was mentioned in a New York Times Food email recently. National Geographic did a story on horologist Brittany Nicole Cox (though you must be a subscriber to NG to read it), just as the podcast’s main character, John B, also worked on clocks.
Just a reminder: S-Town podcast is still so, so good.
New Orleans Museum of Art, 2016
This week, the New Orleans Museum of Art announced what they call a ‘transformative’ new gift:
Albright gave almost 400 works to the museum, more than 350 of which were photographs. Of these, the majority are by acknowledged contemporary masters such as Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Nan Goldin, and Thomas Ruff, and the collection also includes a smaller group of excellent prints by earlier twentieth century artists such a Man Ray, Brassaï, and Doris Ulmann
The History Channel posts 15 of America’s Most Historic Restaurants and among them: Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, Arkansas; Antoine’s in New Orleans; the Bright Star in Bessemer
Looking up: inside the JFK Library, Boston, 2017.
They NYT with 25 Great Writers and Thinkers Weigh In on Books That Matter: To celebrate the Book Review’s 125th anniversary, we’re dipping into the archives to revisit our most thrilling, memorable and thought-provoking coverage. Included, Nora Ephron on Rex Reed’s ‘Do You Sleep in the Nude?; JFK on Arthur Larson’s ‘What We Are For’; Eudora Welty on E.B. White’s ‘Charlotte’s Web’; Tennessee Williams on Paul Bowles’ ‘The Sheltering Sky’.
The thing that made the biggest impression at the JFK Library in Boston? He was so incredibly smart. Just sharp. So quick. Ah, we need that, and are deserving of that in leadership, no matter what flavor political persuasion.
Looking up What We Are For, for weekend reading.
Maya Angelou kept a hotel room, but didn’t sleep there. She told George Plimpton (here, from The Paris Review) she would lie on the bed and write, with “a bottle of sherry, a dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, yellow pads, an ashtray, and a Bible.” I like to picture that. And I think of other writers, and what they kept closeby. What was their writing environment? That’s the subject of the new, quite illustrated, Bookish Broads: Women who Wrote Themselves into History (via Bookshop, via Amazon)
PS: further in that interview of Maya Angelou in the Paris Review (there’s so much to pull from there), she talks about her sensitivity in writing — and here’s a link to the podcast:
I’ve had the same editor since 1967. Many times he has said to me over the years or asked me, Why would you use a semicolon instead of a colon? And many times over the years I have said to him things like: I will never speak to you again. Forever. Goodbye. That is it. Thank you very much. And I leave. Then I read the piece and I think of his suggestions. I send him a telegram that says, OK, so you’re right. So what? Don’t ever mention this to me again. If you do, I will never speak to you again.
INTERVIEWER: And then, finally, you write “The End” and there it is; you have a little bit of sherry.
ANGELOU: A lot of sherry then.
Here, the piece with Bill Moyers she mentions in the interview, about going back home to Stamps, Arkansas:
Spotted this Psalm van, at a Birmingham Walmart parking lot
Telfair Art Museum, Savannah, 2019
Early next year, Telfair Museums in Savannah will present ‘Hard Knocks, Hardships, and Lots of Experience: The Maritime Art of William O. Golding‘ thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) award
1818 Monmouth, Natchez, 2007.
Natchez is offering $6k to people who will move there for a year, in their “Shift South” grant. Participants must purchase a home of at least $150k. How about the 1856 $3.85M Brandon Hall, with seven bedrooms and a punkah in the dining room, or 1803 Glouchester at $2M…the panelingggg yesssss. Also, wow that in anywhere in the country one may acquire this home at $134k
Ah, Loretta Lynn Crisco commercials
Made the lemon pudding cake recipe whole, in a Corningware, rather than indiv ramekins from Zoe Bakes and it turned out pretty nice. It’s one of those ‘magic’ cakes where you put it all together as batter and voila, in the oven it separates as distinct layers. Recipe here, if you’re feeling citrus-y:
Baconator says hello from one of his fave places, Shugie’s robe pocket. The weather is supposed to be cool and wet here this weekend so we’re nesting and petting pets and there’s probably a copious amount of baking and puttering and Netflix/Amazon/HBOMax-ing to be going on. I hope you’ve got a good place to snuggle in too. xoxo!