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Willie Mae's Scotch House (N.O.)


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#1 Jason Perlow

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 06:29 PM

NOTE: This topic is part of the Eating New Orleans series.

Willie Mae's Scotch House
2401 St. Anne St.
504-822-9503

Its in a rough neighborhood, its cash only, and it doesn't take reservations. But people are lining up to eat the food coming out of 89-year old Wille Mae Seaton's home cooking. Be it wealthy Baptist ministers, politicians or the local police force -- or in a previous era, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself -- Willie Mae has been attracting people from all walks of life for decades, because her food is THAT DAMN GOOD.

There's a small menu, but for the most part, what Willie Mae is cooking that day is what you are going to be eating. And that's fine, just fine.


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Willie Mae Seaton, in her native environment.

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The diminutive dining room, where you might be standing room only if you don't get there early.

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Butter Beans. They melt in your mouth.

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Red Beans with rice. They also melt in your mouth.

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Fried Pork Chop. Mmmmmm. Enough said.

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Gravy-Smothered veal cutlet.

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Willie Mae's fried chicken, the main event.

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As you can see, we didn't like it at all.
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#2 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 07:53 PM

Lotta meat left on those bones.

Need I bring up the starving children? Again?

I didn't think so.
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#3 racheld

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:44 PM

My Hubby would have pulled that entire plate up in front of him and carried on a conversation while gnawing every bit of the crunchy parts from those drumsticks. In fact, he did just that whilst we were at his parents' house last month. Several of our children came to visit with all of us, including the youngest Grandbaby, who eased her teething miseries by chewing on a polished-clean drumstick bone.

The biggest laugh of the dinnertable came when the little one had chewed and slicked up that bone from one end to the other, then leaned over and dropped it casually down her Mom's cleavage. :laugh:
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#4 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 01:43 PM

That sounds great, otherRachel :wink:

Brooks, believe me, I know what you mean about cleaning the bones, but the four of us ordered three orders of chicken with rice & beans (the butter beans are a Monday special, and we all thought they were slightly better than the red beans, not that the red beans aren't perfectly good to order on days other than Monday), plus a "side order" of a pork chop and a smothered veal. EVERYTHING was fabulous, save the overly sweet lemonade, and the slow service. But everything is made in its own time and when it gets to the table, you're grateful and thankful and being hungry and waiting makes everything taste better, doesn't it?

And, of all the fried chicken we ate last week, Willie Mae's was hands down the best, most flavorful and juiciest. Get there now, while she's still at the stove! For a while, as we passed on our way to the restroom, her son, Slim, was manning the stove. He's 72. We imagined that he was finally taught the secret of the fried chicken on his 70th birthday... His 90 year old mother saying, "Son, you know I won't be around forever, I figure you're old enough to do it right and keep the secret." I doubt the young waitress (Willie Mae's great-granddaugher?) will be mature enough to handle the fry pot herself until she's a grandmother too.

#5 BROWNSUGA

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 07:49 AM

That food looks delicious!!!

#6 racheld

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 08:38 AM

The fried chicken is a given---brown and crisp and perfect.

Now speak in measured tones of those pork chops---the breading seems to be ethereal crisped crumbs, applied with a practiced hand. Just the right amount of time in the perfectly-heated skillet, removal at the exact moment of goldybrown perfection. :wub:

Just that one photo may serve to swell the coffers of an airline and various hotels as soon as my Summer houseguests have come and gone. I'm makin' a list, and I'm ready to go.
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And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
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#7 Daniel

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 12:42 AM

Lotta meat left on those bones.

Need I bring up the starving children? Again?

I didn't think so.

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Haha.. I was just thinking what i would do for that plate of left overs..

#8 rmockler

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 03:16 PM

NOTE: This topic is part of the Eating New Orleans series.

Willie Mae's Scotch House
2401 St. Anne St.
504-822-9503


Wow! So we are in NO for a wedding and plotting 1.5 food-devoted days, one of which is Monday. (Butter beans, mmmmmmmm.)

The question is: you folks say get there early .. but what constitutes early in these parts?

We'll do what it takes.

BTW: this eating NO thread may be providence's greatest blessing to our household in the last many months. Thank you!
Richard W. Mockler
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#9 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:13 AM

The question is: you folks say get there early .. but what constitutes early in these parts?

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Well, we got there at 11:45 and the place was almost full. There's a larger table to the left where some singles (friends?) were sharing a table and asked us to join them, but we were expecting two more people and there were only two seats left at that table. Thankfully, a couple at a four-top moved over to the shared table so we could have the four-top. Very nice of them.

So, I would say get there by 11:30 AM.

#10 rmockler

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:46 AM

The question is: you folks say get there early .. but what constitutes early in these parts?

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So, I would say get there by 11:30 AM.

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And so we did--and thank you again for this thread! We missed butter bean Monday, but made it Tuesday. The chicken is as perfect as you said (and on Tuesday can be had with fries, though that would mean missing the red beans and rice, which would really not be a good idea.) The fried pork chop was a true revelation -- terrifying to see, at first: "Oh, it's thin and breaded and fried, I bet it'll be all leathery and dried out," part of my brain naievely thought, only to be set right by the first bite of crisp, tender, juicy, perfection.

Two other notes: I would recommend against ordering the green beans, which are fine but not transcendent; and a walk, or combo walk/bus ride, up Esplanade from the French Quarter/F. Merigny, is a great way to get there if you're car-free, as well as a great way to deal with some of the consequences of NO eating.
Richard W. Mockler
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I will, in fact, eat anything once.

#11 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 08:07 AM

eGullet has served its purpose. Amen.

#12 JennotJenn

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 03:14 PM

Man, I'm coming into town the 16th and I'm going straight to Willie Mae's. Are there directions to the restaurant in the book? And would you happen to know if there's public transport to and from?

I ordered that book last night, should be here soon. Anyway, those pics had me drooling, esp. the fried chicken. Is that on the menu every day? God, I hope so.
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#13 rmockler

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 02:47 AM

Man, I'm coming into town the 16th and I'm going straight to Willie Mae's. Are there directions to the restaurant in the book? And would you happen to know if there's public transport to and from?

I ordered that book last night, should be here soon. Anyway, those pics had me drooling, esp. the fried chicken. Is that on the menu every day? God, I hope so.

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There's good bus service to the general vicinity up and down Esplanade from the F.bourg Marigny/French Quarter zone. BUT I was a tourist, and this is the one I found, so there may be others, too, since Willie Mae's is right off Orleans St., also a main thoroughfare.

My advice: walk if you have to. (We actually walked "home" to the the French Quarter after lunch and it wasn't bad at all.)

Do note that this is all a daytime activity!

And enjoy.
Richard W. Mockler
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I will, in fact, eat anything once.

#14 Diner Girl

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:23 PM

I just proposed marriage to Willie Mae after eating her fried chicken. Oh. My. God.

The beau and I are in NO enroute to a business event in Biloxi on Wednesday. Ate at Upperline last night, as we always do our first night in town. Overslept this morning, missed breakfast, and went straight to Willie Mae's at 11:30 for lunch. It's Monday, so it's Butter Bean day, and I couldn't have been happier. Brian had the smothered veal with the green beans (which he liked).

The place was busy, but she came out to say hello, as she usually does. I love this woman, and if there was ever a reason to approve stem cell research legislation for cloning, this is it. ;)

Happy eating,
Carol

#15 Daniel

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 11:38 PM

Just got home after leaving New Orleans yesterday.. Willie Mae's is the best fried chicken I have ever eaten.. Cooked up by Willie Mae's son, served to me by Willie's great grand daughter, randomly driven home in a taxi by her other son, it was an amazing meal... This woman holds the secrets to the universe. I pray for hers and everyone elses safety..

Edited by Daniel, 28 August 2005 - 11:42 PM.


#16 scottgreenwood

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:05 AM

I've been almost obsessively worried about Ms. Willie Mae. She is so sweet and kind that I cannot bear the thought that anything bad would happen to her. Does anyone have any news of her?

Just got home after leaving New Orleans yesterday.. Willie Mae's is the best fried chicken I have ever eaten.. Cooked up by Willie Mae's son, served to me by Willie's great grand daughter, randomly driven home in a taxi by her other son, it was an amazing meal...  This woman holds the secrets to the universe. I pray for hers and everyone elses safety..

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#17 Daniel

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:16 AM

I emailed her great grand daughter I am hoping for a response..

#18 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 02:23 AM

I've been almost obsessively worried about Ms. Willie Mae.  She is so sweet and kind that I cannot bear the thought that anything bad would happen to her. Does anyone have any news of her?

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Here is what Brooks posted in the General/Katrina thread...

Has anyone heard anything from Willie Mae Seaton and/or her family.  I can't stop thinking about her and the fact that her neighborhood is submerged.

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I have. Lolis Elie, my friend, a Time Picayune COlumnist, (and omeone whole Treme home is deep in the water) and a very important voice for the disenfranchised in New Orleans, told me that Willie Mae and her family are safe in Shreveport.

Best,

Brooks

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#19 scottgreenwood

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 05:26 PM

Brooks andRrachel,

You don't know how relieved hearing this makes me. Irrational, maybe, yes, but Ms. Willie Mae is such a sweet, kind, class act that many of her fans and friends have been worried about her. And I would do anything I could to make things just a little easier for her and her family. Anybody know how to reach them?

Scott


I've been almost obsessively worried about Ms. Willie Mae.  She is so sweet and kind that I cannot bear the thought that anything bad would happen to her. Does anyone have any news of her?

View Post


Here is what Brooks posted in the General/Katrina thread...

Has anyone heard anything from Willie Mae Seaton and/or her family.  I can't stop thinking about her and the fact that her neighborhood is submerged.

View Post


I have. Lolis Elie, my friend, a Time Picayune COlumnist, (and omeone whole Treme home is deep in the water) and a very important voice for the disenfranchised in New Orleans, told me that Willie Mae and her family are safe in Shreveport.

Best,

Brooks

View Post

View Post



#20 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:02 PM

This link will take you to photos of the participants in the first weekend of rebuilding Willie Mae's Scotch House. These were taken by my pal Pableaux Johnson. He will be documenting the entire process and posting the photos here.

By all accounts, much was done. The place was stripped and is now drying out.

More volunteers are needed if you happen to have some good will and a free weekend. Just contact the Southern Foodways Alliance if you would like to help out. You don't have to be very handy, you just have to show up. You'll meet some nice folks and no doubt get something good to eat in the process.
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#21 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:33 PM

Here is a nice piece on both Galatoire's and Willie Mae's Scotch House in the Dallas Morning News: They both have their place in our dining culture.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#22 bandregg

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 01:02 PM

The next set of weekend work photos is up at:

http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae2/
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#23 Jason Perlow

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 08:58 PM

A nice article at the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the groundswell of support and assistance Willie Mae Seaton has gotten from locals and fans all over:

http://www.ajc.com/n...0129seaton.html
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#24 bandregg

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:33 AM

Week three photos,

http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae3/
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#25 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:54 AM

I'm curious if the renovation plans include a remodeling or just reconstruction? I ask because Willie Mae's had a very tiny dining room. It was like a shotgun house... Walk into tiny dining room, next room was service hallway and kitchen, then big empty (unused?) bar, and one tiny, short, bathroom. At least, that's what I recall.

As long as it was destroyed, are they going to try to make the space more efficient? Enlarge the dining room, make use of the bar, modernize the restroom facilities? Obviously, it shouldn't become all fancy, it's just that, IMO, they could make better use of the space.

#26 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:58 AM

Week three photos,

http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae3/

View Post


If anyone has any questions about this, please direct them to me and I will try to help you out or you can contact Mary Beth at the address listed below. If we can get the money together, we will be trying to continue this project for the folks who indicate that they need it.

Email from SFA today:

----------------------------------------------------------------Photos from the third work week at Willie Mae's Scotch House are posted.
See www.southernfoodways.com (read the blog) for more info on our progress.

Work has gone well. So well that on the weekend of February 3 our volunteer
work crews will divide between two locations, and we'll turn attention to a
second Treme restaurant, Dooky Chase, where Leah Chase holds forth.

On the weekend of February 10, volunteers from Viking Range will join us.
Viking has also donated hotel rooms at the Monteleone for the February 3 and
February 10 weekends.

To see photos from weekend one: http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae1/

To see photos from weekend two: http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae2/

To see photos from weekend three: http://www.bayoudog.com/williemae3/

Meanwhile, the Willie Mae project is at a tipping point. Unskilled volunteer
labor is no longer needed. What the project needs is skilled and
professionally licensed plumbers and electricians and the like. And money.
The projected cost of build-out now tops more than $100,000.

If you would like to pledge funds, materials, or SKILLED LABOR, please drop
us a line at sfamail@olemiss.edu. Checks, payable to THE PICKLE FUND (an
account begun by John Egerton) should be mailed to the attention of Mary
Beth Lasseter, Southern Foodways Alliance, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS
38677.




Mary Beth Lasseter
Southern Foodways Alliance
Center for the Study of Southern Culture
P.O. Box 1848 - Barnard Observatory
Corner, Grove Loop & Sorority Row
University, MS 38677
662.816.2055
662.915.5814 (fax)
sfamail@olemiss.edu
www.southernfoodways.com-------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#27 TAPrice

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 01:02 PM

I'm curious if the renovation plans include a remodeling or just reconstruction? I ask because Willie Mae's had a very tiny dining room. It was like a shotgun house... Walk into tiny dining room, next room was service hallway and kitchen, then big empty (unused?) bar, and one tiny, short, bathroom. At least, that's what I recall.

As long as it was destroyed, are they going to try to make the space more efficient? Enlarge the dining room, make use of the bar, modernize the restroom facilities? Obviously, it shouldn't become all fancy, it's just that, IMO, they could make better use of the space.

View Post


When I worked at Willie Mae's the weekend before last, the plan was to restore the old layout. I think they convinced her to go back to the high ceilings instead of the modern drop ceiling. The architect was just getting involved, however, so there may have been changes.

My sense was that she didn't want a larger restaurant.
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#28 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 01:26 PM

I'm curious if the renovation plans include a remodeling or just reconstruction? I ask because Willie Mae's had a very tiny dining room. It was like a shotgun house... Walk into tiny dining room, next room was service hallway and kitchen, then big empty (unused?) bar, and one tiny, short, bathroom. At least, that's what I recall.

As long as it was destroyed, are they going to try to make the space more efficient? Enlarge the dining room, make use of the bar, modernize the restroom facilities? Obviously, it shouldn't become all fancy, it's just that, IMO, they could make better use of the space.

View Post


When I worked at Willie Mae's the weekend before last, the plan was to restore the old layout. I think they convinced her to go back to the high ceilings instead of the modern drop ceiling. The architect was just getting involved, however, so there may have been changes.

My sense was that she didn't want a larger restaurant.

View Post




Just to be clear, this is not AT ALL about redesign. The building was in much worse shape than anyone imagined (think of it as a microcosm of New Orleans as a whole :wink: ) and it is basically having to be rebuilt-including a large amount of sill and beam replacement. It's a big deal and it's pretty easily understandable if your home, like mine, happens to be undergoing the same kind of thing.

It will get done. Lots and lots of people are working on it from many different angles.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#29 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 09:58 AM

OH, I know it's not about redesign, I was just curious, as long as there was such extensive work to be done, and all.

#30 Toliver

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 10:11 AM

My question would be is there higher ground in the neighborhood where her restaurant could be moved? I'd hate to think of all this work being done while the building remains the danger zone should, God forbid, another storm bring about another flood.
Thanks for posting the link to the pics.

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