An essay from our forthcoming place issue
At her restaurant, Mosquito Supper Club, and in her cookbook of the same name, Melissa Martin sets out to record the foods and recipes that cannot be found on New Orleans’s restaurant menus or at a Popeyes drive-thru (shrimp boulettes, thistle salad, muscadine compote) and those that have become so synonymous with Louisiana cooking (crawfish étouffée, seven kinds of gumbo, oyster soup) that their points of origin bear reminding.
An installment in our weekly photography series, Eyes on the South
In his series Exodus Home, photographer Jay Simple explores ideas surrounding migration and the definition of home through self-portraiture, archival photographs, and sculptural installations.
A video conclusion to Osayi Endolyn’s column “Counter Service”
In 2019, Osayi Endolyn wrote “Counter Service,” a column examining how American dining culture is shaped by historic social practices that have often left out, or outright excluded, groups of people including women and African Americans. To conclude her series, she visits Willa Jean, Kelly Fields’s restaurant in New Orleans, to discuss the elements that make a dining experience successful.
Oxford American writers have long chronicled police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality. They have also centered Black excellence and joy. This week, we share a few masterworks that feel resonant in this moment, along with suggestions for further reading from these exceptional writers.
A feature essay from the North Carolina Music Issue.
I wanted to start with the wild weeds and the creaking wood on the front porch, walking up to Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina. I wanted to start where she started, imagining her daddy playing jazz standards on the piano, her mama cooking something good and greasy in the cramped kitchen with siblings zooming around. I envisioned myself, like Alice Walker looking for Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave, shouting Nina in the derelict home, hoping somehow she would appear, gloriously phantasmagoric, and answer all of my incessant probing questions.
The slow dance of the Civil War and the enslavement of Black people in America are my working metaphors for the poem known as The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy.
An installment in John T. Edge’s column, Local Fare.
She was a genius, I’ve come to recognize, at recasting defeats as glorious spectacles. Faced with small-town ignorance, fearful of what small-town boredom might wrest from her, she did her best to divert and subvert. Looking back, I see my best self in her flagrancy. And I glimpse what my worst self might have nurtured, had the darker times in Clinton defined my life.
A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.
I wasn’t sure how to explain to a rising high-school junior why I’d followed her and her classmates to Belize. I’d met Pierre-Floyd a few months before during a tour of Frederick A. Douglass High School, the Ninth Ward charter school where she works, and she’d told me, in passing, that she planned to take twenty-five kids to Belize. Pierre-Floyd said she’d been the first in her family to graduate from college and she thought a high school trip she’d taken to Ghana had helped her earn a degree. She wanted to give her students the same experience.
A short story from the Spring 2020 issue
I tell him goodbye and go wander around the beauty section in Dillard’s. I find the perfume like what I’m wearing on display and I spray some more on. I find a new color of Estée Lauder lipstick that I like and put that on too. It’s called “Bold Innocent.” A woman behind the counter with shiny skin tells me how pretty my complexion is. She wants to give me a free beauty consultation, but I tell her I’m shy and walk away. I don’t like strangers to touch me.
Little Richard, now eighty-two years old, has reportedly been living the last several years in a penthouse suite at the Hilton hotel in downtown Nashville (the Hilton will neither confirm nor deny that they have a guest named Mr. Penniman). I knew someone who knew someone who had his cell phone number, and in June, I cold-called him.
A feature essay from the Spring 2020 issue.
History is, in part, the memories we choose to protect and reinforce, to ensure their longevity and influence. In Thibodaux’s protected memory, sugarcane has endured, plantations have endured, Confederate heroes have endured—but not the massacre.
A photo essay supplement to our spring issue
In spite of this palpable, omnipresent sense of loss, or perhaps precisely because of it, the Juancun community in Atlanta has devoted themselves to engaging the city’s larger Asian-American population, in an attempt to share what they feel remains of their cultural identity.