JoAnn Clevenger is a hospitality archetype. She lives to serve and breathes life into every service encounter. For the past thirty-six years, she’s nurtured a haven for guests and staff at Upperline, her New Orleans restaurant. In an era where chef-driven, trend-surfing restaurants are the norm, how does an old-school institution thrive? Clevenger’s empathy and attitude are the keys to her own success.

Sara Brooke Curtis is an award winning radio producer. Her work has aired on The Splendid Table, KCRW’s UnFictional, KCRW’s Good Food, CBC’s Love Me, BBC’s Short Cuts, among others. She lives in western Massachusetts and loves recording sounds of everyday life and producing sonic worlds for listeners to surrender to and delight in.

Special thanks to Eve Abrams for her recording help, and the staff of Upperline restaurant for taking excellent care of the folk who cross their transom and for being so generous with their time.

In 2015, SFA honored JoAnn Clevenger with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award. Watch JoAnn Clevenger: A Girl Scout with Gumption, a short film by 1504.

Music from this episode is:

Symphony 40 in G Minor by Blue Dot Sessions

Le Marais by Blue Dot Sessions

Valantis by Blue Dot Sessions

Doghouse by Blue Dot Sessions

Felt Lining by Blue Dot Sessions

Thannoid by Blue Dot Sessions