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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 annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Kathia Duran, cheese maker

Costa Rica native Kathia Duran moved to New Orleans to study at Loyola University in 1990, fell in love with the city, and never left. She grew up visiting Cartago, her mother’s family’s mountain town, where locals made their own bread and cheese and grew their own vegetables. In 2004, she decided to make cheese herself and traveled back to Costa Rica to learn the traditional method for her fresh, unripe cheeses. Duran sold her cheeses in independent and gourmet stores in the French Quarter, as well as supermarkets and Hispanic markets, before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. In the wake of the disaster, stores closed and demand slowed, presenting an uncertain future. Still, Duran remains hopeful: “People from Louisiana tend to support Louisiana-made products,” she says.  

Date of interview:

Laura Westbrook, University of New Orleans


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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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