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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

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Rosie Jean Adams

Bywater American Bistro

Rosie-Jean Adams, born in 1989, was raised in Uptown New Orleans. While attending college at American University, she began serving in  Washington D.C.  restaurants. Adams missed New Orleans, and she returned to her home city and began serving in restaurants throughout the city. When Bywater American Bistro was opening, she was hired to be the assistant general manager. Soon after, she became the general manager. Adams manages front of house operations and the wine list for the restaurant.

When stay-at-home orders were put in place on March 2020,  Bywater American Bistro closed its doors. In June, they reopened for takeout orders and one table service. Adams and two chefs returned to run the restaurant. She ran the front of house by herself during this time, serving, bartending, selling wine, and bussing tables. In July 2020, the restaurant opened back up to fifty percent capacity and outdoor seating. In her interview, Adams reflects upon the difficulties of managing the front of house space and the joyful moments of reconnecting with regular customers after months of stay-at-home restrictions were lifted.

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel


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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.


Alex Raij Txikito

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