Herby K's, Miss Eudora Loves The Jitney Jungle, And Joan Didion In The SouthFriday, March 24, 2017
We finally made it to the Shreveport institution Herby K's last summer --
When we were walking up, I knew it was family-friendly, but had momentary doubts as it sure looks like package store / bar on the outside
It was good -- they had coloring sheets and crayons in cups to keep kids busy. And of course Av had their famous dish, the shrimp buster, which was pretty great
After leaving, we ran across a Shreveport Jitney Jungle which still has its signage. Every time I see one, I think of Eudora Welty and her almost daily trips to the Jitney #14 in the Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson, where mid-century, she was tipping the bagboys a dime, sometimes a quarter.
Willie Morris first met Miss Eudora at the Jitney as a child when he went there with his great-aunt Maggie Harper, who lived across the street and treated the store as her own private pantry.
(I found this sign in 2005 in south Alabama)
That Belhaven Jitney is now a McDade's, still with the tudor styling just like the Welty home, and is proudly local: when there last month, they had a nice display of Crechale's comeback sauce by the registers.
(found this Jitney butcher paper at an antique store in Woodville, Mississippi)
We were in town for Beth Israel's 50th anniversary celebration, and had a nice supper at Lou's Full-Serv, next door to the McDade's.
Bonus: Shug made friends with one of the #catsofbelhaven outside the restaurant.
The new Joan Didion book, South and West, is reviewed at Vogue, and mentions the passing of her opportunity to meet Eudora Welty:
But in the summer of 1970, Didion was in limbo, between books, following an idea she could not yet fully articulate, that for some years the South had been America’s true “psychic center.” She acts on the impulses of a traveler (searching for the grave of William Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi); she has some of the curious dialogues with strangers that are a signature of her stories; she has some of the rarified experience that come with being Joan Didion (gin and tonics on a bayou during a thunderstorm with Walker Percy). She elects, though, not to go to meet Eudora Welty because that would mean going to Jackson, Mississippi, where there was an airport from which she could easily fly home to California...