An artist, writer, storyteller and chef specializing in authentic traditional New Orleans Creole cuisine, interactive cooking and dining experiences.
I was born into a family of very creative and talented folks. Some are visual artists, others amazing cooks, educators and then there are the musicians. All artists in their own right. After years of self discovery, I learned that I lean into multiple expressions of creativity and enjoy them equally. I spent so much time wrangling over where I'd place my focus, but I couldn't decide. Actually I refused to decide because I desire to explore them all, bringing their flavors together like a really good pot of gumbo. So here I am. My name is Shawanda Marie and I want to share my true love with you. I am the owner and creative mind behind New Orleans Creole Story Pot. Here, I infuse elements of theater performance, storytelling, visual art, education, cultural exploration, music and of course culinary art! I love to facilitate joy and see people smiling and happy. Nothing accomplishes that like good food.
Growing up in New Orleans, nearly everything we did revolved around food and sharing good times with friends and family. After my grandmother passed away and then Hurricane Katrina came through changing my beloved city forever, many of my family resettled to various states outside of Louisiana. I long for those warm, lively gatherings of my youth. There was gumbo and stuffed peppers, and bread pudding and mirlitons (meh-lee-tawn), and jambalaya, and more food and more food!! We'd dance, laugh, drink, hug, kiss and eat until we could barely move. We laughed until we cried...we were loud! There was love everywhere--love of life, love of the moment, love of just being together and love for one another. And there were stories! Stories about overcoming hardships, simpler times and those about colorful personalities who made their mark on the city of New Orleans and beyond. Some of them share branches of my family tree, like my cousin Antoine "Fats" Domino and my uncle, Jazz trumpeter, George "Kid Sheik" Colar. (shameless name drops)
The way we approach life as native New Orleanians is very Creole, however it didn't quite dawn on me until I moved to beautiful Southwest Virginia nearly 20 years ago. It's almost like trying to explain water to a fish. Take him out of that good ole H2O and he'll get some understanding in his head real quick! LOL! Culture is life...it's just who we are and what we do. My documented ancestral roots, in Louisiana, date back to 1724 with some of its earliest settlers. While I ventured out from the city of my heart, New Orleans never left me and it won't. It's part of everything I am. I desire to share my New Orleans Creole experience with you through the art of culinary storytelling. My grandmother is no longer here, but when I cook she's right by my side, just like when I was a little girl learning to make gumbo by her side. She is my inspiration. I want to introduce her to you and share the magic of life she left with me. Life is too short to not eat well and enjoy it to the fullest, right?
So, let's eat! ;)