During my last days in New Orleans I went to taste the fried chicken at Willie Mae's. It was fried-chicken-gasm. I can still remember my friends saying "keep it and let it cool down, it's even better". Which I did. Which I loved !
"Willie Mae's was operated for forty years by Willie Mae Seaton, who at the time of Katrina was in her nineties. Among her fans, she was renowned for her fried chicken, among other things. But, by Willie Mae's own design, her restaurant was almost unknown around New Orleans, even in the black community. S. M. Hahn-the best writer in the Times-Picayune's long line of restaurant critics-wrote the only known pre-Katrina full review of Willie Mae's. In it she described a sublime lunch. Then she said that its owner asked her not to identify the restaurant by name. So she didn't. I didn't recognize Hahn's description of the place, although I had visited Willie Mae's Scotch House a few times since the 1970s.
Like most other Mid-City restaurants, Willie Mae's sustained killing flood damage. Unlike any other, though, it became a cause celebre in the national media. John Currence, a James Beard award-winning restaurateur from Oxford, Mississippi, decided to move heaven and earth t get Willie Mae's back open again. He raised enough money and put in enough hours swinging a hammer to rebuild not only the restaurant but Willie Mae's house. He also raised enough consciousness about Willie Mae's that it won itw own James Beard Foundation America's CLassic Awards 2005."
Hungry Town: A culinary history of New Orleans, Tom Fitzmorris