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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Randy Russell


Hurricane Ginger struck in 1971. After two-and-a-half decades of calm, Dennis, Floyd, and Irene made 1999 a hurricane-heavy year. Rain-soaker Tropical Storm Nicole fell in 2010. Hurricane Irene landed in August of the following year. All 6 storms caused the Cashie River in tiny downtown Windsor to overflow its banks, in effect, inundating historic Bunn’s Barbecue, open since 1938, each time. As Bunn’s co-owner Randy Russell tells it, “We know all about flooding.”

Following each storm, the Russell family rebuilds Bunn’s. They’ve been blessed with a building—an old filling station—constructed from sturdy heart pine and brimming with character. Fortunately, the Russells also serve up one of North Carolina’s more unique barbecues. The cornbread sandwich fills a half-inch thick square with chopped roast Boston butt and coleslaw. Soak yours in the peppery vinegar hot sauce while thanking the rain gods for sparing Bunn’s this year.

Date of interview:
2011-12-01 00:00

Interviewer:
Rien T. Fertel

Photographer:
Denny Culbert

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