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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.

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Donna Cheramie

Donna Cheramie officially grew up in Galliano, but she recalls spending much of her youth on her father’s shrimp boat. It was hard work on the water, she says. Too hard to think back on with fondness. But while Donna has chosen a landlubber’s life as an adult, her managerial position at Leeville Seafood Restaurant requires both a solid work ethic and a thorough knowledge of the region’s seafood. She buys it, cooks it, sells it, and eats it (though often at work a hamburger sounds best). All of the seafood prepared at the restaurant comes from local waters; in fact, Donna buys the largest shrimp from her father, who is still a trawler. Donna’s in-laws, Harris and Sue Cheramie, purchased the restaurant fifteen years ago. Sue, who developed all of the recipes but spends little time at the restaurant these days, taught Donna to cook. Seafood gumbo seasoned with ham and smoked sausage, crab patties, fried seafood platters, seafood fondue, salads piled high with chilled shrimp— Donna and a team of women whom she considers family prepare every dish in-house for a clientele of recreational fishermen, tourists passing through Leeville on their way to Grand Isle, and locals who point to Leeville Seafood Restaurant as a place where seafood is done right.

Date of interview:
2011-10-17 00:00

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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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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