Photography by Chris Fowler
A delicate incision down the female shad’s stomach liberates a pair of surprisingly large vaguely orange lobes, redolent of lungs. Connected by a bloody membrane, each pouch contains about 300,000 eggs, and they are most commonly poached or sautéed intact. In season, you can get shad roe at New York’s Grand Central Oyster Bar, with bacon and a broiled tomato, for about thirty dollars. Hominy Grill in Charleston sautées roe in butter and serves it with bacon, mushrooms, asparagus, lemon, garlic, and Tabasco, and at Atlanta’s Empire State South, it’s cured and plated with butter and sliced radishes.
Read the rest of John McElwee’s Blue Monday, from our fall issue.
"Les Naturalistes, 2013" (detail), by Ysabel LeMay
John Barry Goes Coastal on Big Oil
One night in February, John Barry rode a mule-drawn float through the carnival crush of the Faubourg Marigny, an old Creole neighborhood in downtown New Orleans. Chosen to reign as King of the Krewe du Vieux parade, he flourished an oversized quill pen with an ostrich plume instead of a scepter and wore a velvet tunic emblazoned with a gold fleur-de-lis. His royal float was edged in fat black droplets of oil threatening forlorn snowy egrets, glitter-dusted wetlands flora, and too-blue water. Barry, the author of best-selling books on the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and the deadly flu epidemic of 1918, had become something of a local hero for spearheading a high-profile lawsuit aiming to make oil and gas companies restore coastal land damaged by their work.
Read the rest of Anne Gisleson’s Flood Protection from our fall issue.
"Dancers at Club Ebony," by Bill Steber
Almost every year since 1980, Indianola has celebrated the B.B. King Homecoming Festival. Though the date may change year to year because of King’s schedule, the event is practically a holiday. Thousands attend the one-day festival. Food trucks and street vendors appear; police look the other way as bottles of booze pass from hand to hand; lawn chairs and sun umbrellas unfurl next to large, sweaty families; coolers rattle with ice. A carnival used to come, but officials shut it down because carnies were breaking into residents’ homes. Kids who have grown up watching King play every summer take it for granted. It’s not until they leave Indianola and say they’ve seen B.B. King twelve times that the responding “oohs” and “aahs” inform them of their rare privilege.
Read the rest of Phil McCausland’s Twenty Seconds with the King here.
From “Poetry in Place” an OA Symposium"Luck" by Nadezda Nikolova, courtesy of the artist
My father was the son of sharecroppers. He grew up behind a mule’s ass, plowing fields and picking cotton. Redneck was a word of pride in his family. Dirt poor, they worked all day beneath a fierce sun; their burnt necks a sign of their struggle to survive.
In self-portraits, my father painted his skin the same color as the red clay roads of his childhood.
“That red clay is indelible in your soul,” my mother said. It stained everything: our clothes, our skin, the taste of iron in our drinking water. It stained me.
From Notes of a Native Daughter by Ansel Elkins
“Agnes loved combing mayonnaise through her curls”
24 in. x 36 in. | acrylic on wood panel | 2014
This August, Amy C. Evans left her role as lead oral historian of the Southern Foodways Alliance, where, over the last twelve years, she conducted more than two-hundred individual interviews around the South and beyond. She was the main architect behind the SFA’s four culinary trails. “Amy built the SFA’s documentary program,” SFA director and Oxford American columnist John T. Edge said. “We’re very proud of what she accomplished, of how she comported herself, and of how she stewarded the people she interviewed.”
Editorial intern Heather Richie examines Amy Evans’s Art & Pie
"Cotton Harvest" by McNair Evans, from Confessions for a Son (2014)
Faulkner named his “apocryphal county,” as he called it, after an actual river, the Yoknapatawpha, which was the Chickasaw name for the river that is now called the Yocona, a corruption of Yoknapatawpha. A further variation appears on an 1861 map I located at the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The river is identified as “Yoch na pata fa.” Above it, and sited on the Tallahatchie River, is the now vanished town of Panola. My father’s camp, General Stone’s camp, and the confluence of the Yocona River with the Tallahatchie River were all within a radius of less than ten miles.
Read the rest of James Seay’s piece from our fall issue here.