As I sing my first note from the stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, one of Louisiana’s 400 festivals, I watch as people are drawn to the music. They come from every walk of life; tall, short, thin, round, young, old, hippie, yuppie, folkie, and foreign. Everyone is different, yet they’re all here, in Louisiana, to enjoy our little piece of heaven on Earth. The smell of roux and fried seafood intertwine with the dancers, sweat and dust. Cypress crafts pepper the backdrop of multi-colored tents. In this moment, there are no worries—just complete happiness. Food for my soul…my plate is full.
—Yvette Landry, Author, Educator, Ambassador, GRAMMY-Nominated Songbird, and Breaux Bridge Native
North Carolinians of all walks of life—on tobacco farms, in textile mills and furniture factories, on street corners and at house parties in the fast-growing cities, on menhaden work boats, and in the churches of blacks, whites, and Native Americans—expressed their deepest joys, sorrows, faith, and dreams through their music.
Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South is an unprecedented photography exhibition comprising fifty-six photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, it offers a composite image of the region. The project’s purpose is to investigate senses of place in the South that congeal, however fleetingly, in the spaces between the photographers’ looking, their images, and our own preexisting ideas about the region.
Merriam-Webster’s take on cornbread is “bread made with corn meal.” A definition so simple leaves ample room for creativity, which is exactly what Arkansans have found since 2011 at the state’s annual Cornbread Festival. Inspired by ancient Native American culinary customs, cornbread recipes have been perfected in southern family kitchens for generations. Considering the deep roots of this commonplace staple, it’s no wonder a festival in its honor has become one of the region’s most beloved and anticipated.