Diane “Dee Dee” Holt and Deloris Reno | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Middendorf’s and Manchac


Diane "Dee Dee" Holt and Deloris Reno

Middendorf's Restaurant

Dee Dee Holt is the eldest of Deloris Reno’s six children, all of whom she raised in Manchac with her husband, Joseph, a commercial fisherman. Dee Dee was already working at Middendorf’s Restaurant in the 1980s when her recently widowed mother got a job hostessing there. Deloris remembers showing up for her interview wearing “heels and a gown.”

While Deloris quickly adapted to more practical footwear (S.A.S. shoes, to be precise), she took pride in her appearance on the job, seeing a hairdresser every Monday and Friday for a French twist—and, in the early days, big curls piled on top of her head. Deloris has always been a woman with energy. When her last child left the nest, she cooked for the Middendorf’s staff, bringing in pans of biscuits, red-eye gravy, eggs, and other dishes from home.

While health problems forced Deloris into reluctant retirement roughly a decade ago, after logging twenty-one years at Middendorf’s, she keeps busy by tending to her garden in Reserve, LA. Dee Dee, who relatively recently earned her degree in paralegal studies, still works at Middendorf’s as a front-of-house manager. She has seen the restaurant through three phases of ownership.

Date of interview:

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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