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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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Wayne Schexnayder

Schexnayder’s Acadian Foods

Wayne Schexnayder’s German family has been in St. Charles Parish since the early 1700s, when the French brought them over to farm in the new colony. Everyone in his family cooked, but as a professional bodybuilder, his diet prohibited their chicken and andouille gumbo, smothered pork, and jelly rolls. Instead, he learned to cook meals for himself. Schexnayder opened a small catering company that he operated on weekends while working in the supermarket business, then made his way to the French Quarter, where he worked as a chef for eleven years. Eventually, he bought Schexnayder’s Acadian Foods, which offered catering and sold food products – including andouille sausage, spices, and more – to grocery stores, distributors, and small markets. After Hurricane Katrina, the market took a nosedive, and Schexnayder lost about ninety percent of his business. As he tries to rebuild, he also provides work to other folks in the community who need it.

Date of interview:

Laura Westbrook, University of New Orleans


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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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