< Back to Oral History project: Ya-Ka-Mein in New Orleans
Miss Linda’s New Orleans Soul Food Seasoning Company
Linda Green had cooked for the Orleans Parish School Board for 25 years by 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit and the federal levee system failed in New Orleans. Like so many of her co-workers in the public school system, Linda never heard from her employers at the School Board again. Fortunately she had other connections. Through her participation in the city’s second line culture—both as a street vendor and as the president of the Lady and Men Rollers social aid and pleasure club—she had earned friends and fans who quickly put her to work cooking. She cooked for musicians in need, she opened a booth at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and she resumed her place as the premier ya-ka-mein vendor at Sunday second lines. These days, between television appearances and charity events, Linda operates a catering company. And she is marketing her first commercial product, Original New Orleans Ya-Ka-Mein Seasoning, a mix that requires only the addition of hot water to replicate her signature ya-ka-mein broth at home. What’s next for the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady? Well, in this interview she does broach the topic of a ya-ka-mein Bloody Mary.