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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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Katherine Whann and Sandy Whann

Leidenheimer Baking Company

Leidenheimer Baking Company celebrated its centennial in 1996 with a new design for the sides of its white bread trucks: local cartoonist Bunny Matthews drew his already beloved Vic and Nat’ly Broussard, typical denizens of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, sharing a drippy shrimp po-boy and jointly exclaiming, “Sink Ya Teeth Into A Piece of New Orleans Cultcha – A Leidenheimer Po-Boy!” George Leidenheimer, a native of Deidesheim, Germany, launched the business in 1896 by baking breads in the style of his homeland, but it was his New Orleans-style French bread – used most famously to make po-boy sandwiches — that endeared his bakery to New Orleanians and propelled it into the twenty-first century as an invaluable contributor to New Orleans’ unique food cultcha. The bakery is the city’s largest producer of New Orleans French bread. Robert J. Whann, IV (“Sandy”), and his sister, Katherine Whann, manage the business in a section of town they call “the bakery neighborhood.” The siblings wear the mantle of responsibility proudly, and with humility. “We don’t take it for granted, I can tell you that,” Sandy says.

Date of interview:

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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