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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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Jeanette Meyer

Jeanette Meyer, born in 1956, grew up in rural Western New York, where her father owned a wholesale produce business. As a teenager, Meyer became interested in art; one day she persuaded her father to let her paint custom murals on his delivery vans. This talent for custom paintwork eventually took her to car shows all over the country. After one such trip to New Orleans in 1981, Jeanette decided that she belonged in the Crescent City.

By 1982, Meyer began waiting tables at the venerable Quarter institution, The Coffee Pot. There she came to know Chef Paul Prudhomme, to whom she sold mammoth curly parsley that she grew in the courtyard of her French Quarter apartment. Prudhomme recruited Meyer to wait tables at K-Paul’s in 1985. Seeking a change of pace, Meyer went to Grand Casino in Gulfport in 1993. She took charge of training all beverage servers, a job she loved but lost in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina washed it away. She has worked at Pascal’s Manale since 2005 and continues to make polymer clay art, which she sells around the country.

Date of interview:

Justin Nystrom

L. Kasimu Harris

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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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