In a region as esteemed for its hospitality as the American South, earning recognition as a phenomenal hostess is no simple task. JoAnn Clevenger's work at Upperline Restaurant in New Orleans sets her in a class above, which in 2015 earned her the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award. Today the Southern Foodways Alliance shares the documentary they commissioned to commemorate the win, called "JoAnn Clevenger: A Girl Scout with Gumption." Watch the film in it's entirety above.
Clevenger grew up in rural Central Louisiana, and fell in love with food at an early age. Her affinity for art and culture inspired her to move to the French Quarter in the 1950’s, where she owned and operated a folk music bar, flower cart, and vintage clothing store before opening Upperline Restaurant in 1983. In her writing and public appearances, Clevenger often reminds her readers and listeners that the root word for restaurant translates from French into English as "to restore"; her dedication to service at Upperline has made the establishment a restorative place for locals and visitors alike for over 30 years.
Click here to learn more about Clevenger, and about the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.