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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.

ORAL HISTORY

Kenny Mauthe


Mauthe Family Dairy

The Mauthe Family Dairy’s roots are in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where Kenny Mauthe’s grandfather first began milking cows. The farm moved to Folsom, Louisiana, when the city expanded and the Ninth Ward became more residential; eventually Kenny and his wife, Jamie, established their own farm on an impossibly green tract of land in McComb, Mississippi, where they raised four children—the fourth generation of Mauthe dairy farmers.

Over time, Kenny and Jamie transitioned from milking 150 cows and selling all their milk to a gigantic co-op, to milking just a couple dozen cows and then processing the milk themselves and selling it to customers directly at farmers’ markets. When they downsized, around 2000, the Mauthes also resurrected the old Louisiana dairy farming tradition of producing Creole cream cheese, a tart sour cream-like product that old-timer New Orleanians remember eating with sugar and/or fruit for breakfast. While there was one other small producer in the area at the time, many locals credit the Mauthes’ product with saving Creole cream cheese from extinction.

Kenny and Jamie haven’t been making Creole cream cheese since Hurricane Katrina blew in, damaging their barn and otherwise interrupting the momentum of their operations. But they have plans…

Date of interview:
2006-08-06 00:00

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

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