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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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Mike Jones

Southern Maid Donuts

Mike Jones, born in 1958, was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. His grandfather, Bruce Jones, was “an old party buddy” of J.B. Hargrove’s in Dallas. In 1941, Jones established the first Southern Maid Donuts franchise outside of Texas. The original shop has moved locations throughout the years, but the business lives on through the Jones Family. The first Shreveport location was “a little hole in the wall over on Texas Street,” before the famous Greenwood and Hearne shop opened in 1948. Mike, a self-described jack-of-all-trades mechanic and musician,  joined the family business in 1986 at his grandmother’s request. He is now the third generation proprietor of Southern Maid Donuts on Hearne Avenue.

Jones’ grandfather Bruce was a lover of all animals, and he convinced a small traveling circus company to bring an elephant over to Southern Maid Donuts for a publicity stunt in 1963 or 1964. Bruce kept Mynah birds that talked in the lobby of the Greenwood and Hearne location. Mike recalls his mother seeing the debut Elvis Presley performance at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium in 1954, one of many Saturday night shows the legendary King of Rock’n’Roll was under contract for with the Louisiana Hayride. The logo and branding for the Jones’ family franchise in Shreveport features “Miss Merry Mary,”  a poodle who his grandmother taught to push a tea cart tray. Mike’s mother, Jo, sewed the dress and bonnet for the dog’s hilarious costume.

Date of interview:

Jaime Cantrell

Shannon Palmer

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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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