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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. 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

< Back to Oral History project: Southern Gumbo Trail


Donald, Diana, Celeste and Andre Uzee

As is the case with many Louisiana families, the Uzees enjoy few pastimes more than gathering around the dining room table to critique one another’s gumbo-making methods. Their varied opinions on broth viscosity, roux shade, and oil preference do not, however, keep them from pulling together during the final weekend of October every year to make a seafood gumbo from an unvarying recipe for Larose’s French Food Festival. With Diana as the prep chef, Andre as “Mr. Roux,” Donald handling the water, Celeste fine-tuning the seasonings, and a staff of volunteers, they prepare and sell roughly 160 gallons of their gumbo over a three-day weekend, all to benefit Larose’s Bayou Civic Club and its exceptional regional park and community center.

Donald Uzee calls theirs a non-traditional seafood gumbo, at least by Lafourche Parish standards, because besides shrimp, oysters, and crab claws, it includes sausage and ham. Andre makes the roux in a heavy-bottomed pot on-site, beneath a gigantic circus tent that shelters the weekend’s festivities. On festival days, the Uzees sometimes begin their work before sunrise, but not before enjoying one of the festival’s other delicacies: a hogshead cheese sandwich.

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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