In this episode of British Suits & Cowboy Boots, Richard talks with Zella Palmer, Chair & Director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture and one of New Orleans Magazine’s 2020 People to Watch.
Zella discusses the rich cultural impact that African Americans have made to New Orleans, the United States and the world, specifically highlighting food. She talks about the legacies of slavery, her work preserving African-American culture and educating New Orleans youths about careers in the food and culture industries. Zella also shares the significance of being the third generation in her family to work at an HBCU and why these institutions matter so much.
She shares the story of Ray Charles’ deep love for New Orleans, and how an offer for him to eat at McDonald’s led to the creation of his namesake program at Dillard University. In addition to sharing her recommendations for where to eat mind-blowing creole cuisine, Zella reminisces about her time as a teen in London eating fish and chips, catching a Jamiroquai concert, and pleading with her dad for some pounds to shop at Harrods.
A must listen episode about understanding, celebrating and protecting the African-American experience and the diverse cultures that it produced.