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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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Jeffery Heard

Heard Dat Kitchen

Jeffery Heard, born in 1961, grew up in the Iberville Housing Project, right on the edge of the French Quarter. He worked as a dishwasher in high school and considers his big break scoring a position as a busser at Les Jardines in Canal Place in 1984.Heard is a master of banquet service. He owns it by being “100 percent.” Chef Jeff runs his own restaurant and catering operation in Central City at the Heard Dat Kitchen.

When the Pandemic hit in mid-March, Heard’s business was negatively impacted. Heard Dat Kitchen relies on the heavy tourist traffic of the Carnival season. Heard and his family began selling Grab & Go meals out of their restaurant. They also worked with the Krewe of Red Beans Feed the Frontlines program, and in June 2020, they began working with World Central Kitchen to feed communities in need throughout the New Orleans area. These community organizations allowed Heard to continue running his own business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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