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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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John Strickland

Antoine's Restaurant

John Strickland always wanted to be a bartender. He learned about this business while working at Commander’s Palace, but it was a television commercial that finally did it: “Become a professional bartender. It’s like a paid vacation!” John enrolled in Crescent City Bartending School, received his bartending certificate, and quickly found a job behind the bar at the renowned Antoine’s Restaurant. At Antoine’s, the bar is a service bar, so the bartender is relegated to a small room adjacent to the kitchen and does not interact with customers. He stuck with it for eight years, until he had the opportunity to become beverage manager. John still misses the bar, though, and as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, he enjoyed the challenge of making time-consuming, layered drinks. Today, he’s perfecting the inventory of Antoine’s famous wine cellar and managing the bartenders who have taken his place in the tiny room next to the kitchen. Still, it’s all about giving his customers what they want.

Date of interview:

Amy Evans


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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.


Alex Raij Txikito

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