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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

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Isaac Toups

Toups' Meatery

Isaac Toups owns Toups Meatery, a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the beginning of the Pandemic, Toups quickly outfitted his kitchen and pivoted to an all-takeout model. Though he was only required to furlough a few employees at the beginning of the Pandemic, he continued to serve family meal to all of his employees. Not long after the Pandemic began, Toups expanded his restaurants’ practice to anyone in need. At the height of his family meal, he served 500 community members per day.

Toups and his wife, Amanda, began seeking donations and worked with other organizations like the Krewe of Red Beans and World Central Kitchen. Toups discusses the difficulty of financial sustainability in the restaurant industry and the further negative impact COVID-19 has had upon it. He also talks about the gradual reopening of his restaurant in July 2020. As of his follow-up interview in March 2021, A year after the pandemic began, Toups continued his family meal program, feeding community members in his area.

Date of interview:

Justin Nystrom

Justin Nystrom

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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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