Annou Olivier and David Olivier

New Orleans, LA

Ann (nickname Annou) Olivier was born into a family of white New Orleans Creoles on Esplanade Ridge, where she still lives today. Dinnertime was an elaborate, multi-course ritual every evening while she was growing up, including on those evenings when the soup came from a can. Which it rarely did—the Oliviers had a cook, Elnora (called Gaga), a devout woman with a big heart and natural talent at the stove. When Annou speaks about Gaga’s cooking – her fried chicken, her stuffed fish, her gumbos – almost every sentence is punctuated with “mmm.” David Olivier, Annou’s nephew, grew up primarily in Virginia and visited New Orleans often as a child. He remembers Gaga’s cooking, as well as the Popeye’s fried chicken that commenced every vacation in New Orleans, and the thick coffee and chicory that concluded every dinner in his grandparents’ household. David doesn’t identify as a Creole himself, necessarily. But as a young adult he chose New Orleans as his home, and it’s there where he looks forward to lecturing his own daughters about the finer points of roux-making, just like he was schooled by his Creole relatives.

Date of interview:

July 23, 2007

Interviewer:

Sara Roahen

Photographer:

Sara Roahen

David and Annou Olivier - Gumbo Trail
Don’t put as much pepper in it as they put these days. You should not overpower the taste of the ingredients with your herbs and things.

My father would lecture me about how to make a roux. It’s, you know, this thing that people like to, I guess, lecture small children about.

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