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In Honor of Mama Louise Culinary Matriach of Macon Leaves A Legacy

In Honor of Mama Louise Culinary Matriach of Macon Leaves A Legacy

The Allman Brothers Band didn’t make Louise Hudson (Mama Louise) famous, it was the other way around.Mama Louise along with her godmother-cousin and business partner Inez Hill had been famous in Macon’s Black community before meeting the band. The compassion and generosity Mama Louise and Mama Hill (Inez Hill) showed the band by feeding them and allowing them to pay later was a courtesy they’d permitted others since opening H&H Restaurant in 1959. The band simply told the world of their good works, and they would repeatedly tell the story of the women and restaurant that fed them when they did not have a dime. They even gave Mama Louise a liner-note credit on an album that read “Vittles: Louise.” 

On November 8, 2022, “Mama” Louise Ruff Hudson passed away. Born in Youngstown OH and moving to Warrenton GA with her family and on to Macon, Mama Louise’s roots were solidly Appalachian from her Ohio birth to her life and untimely passing in Macon. According to Sound & Soul, she waited tables and cooked in various establishments before opening the original H&H with Inez Hill in 1959. In 1968, the cousins moved their restaurant right down the street from a fledgling record label Capricorn Records, which is how she met members of the Allman Brothers Band and other southern rockers recording at Capricorn studio or touring the area like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bonnie Bramlett, Dr. John, Charlie Daniels, and Marshall Tucker. She fed Black musicians too. Macon is home to Little Richard, Otis Redding, Randy Crawford and the Georgia Mass Choir. Oprah Winfrey even dropped into the restaurant to meet Mama Louise. However, H&H was also a meeting spot for civil rights organizers, politicians and activists.

H&H Restaurant Wall Mural   

In 2007, Inez Hill died and Mama Louise continued to run the restaurant for another six years, ultimately selling it in 2014. In 2017, she was awarded the Harriet Tubman Act of Courage Award by Macon’s Tubman Museum for her years of service to the community. Most recently, she and Inez Hill were honored by MOFAD with a quilt panel as a part of their Legacy Quilt Project. 

MOFAD Legacy Quilt Project

One of Mama Louise’s greatest legacies are her recipes, which live on as a part of the new H&H owner’s menu. Though she cooked from memory without a written recipe, some of the foods the restaurant was known for are still available. Deviled eggs, smothered chicken, banana and bread puddings, red beans and butter beans, and more. 

Credit: H&H Restaurant

Mama Louise leaves behind her daughters: Lucy Hudson O’Neal, Monroe Hudson and Valda Hudson. She also leaves the entire city of Macon to mourn. 

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Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and academic researcher focusing on Black history, heritage and culture. Public historian primarily in Black American historical foodways: antebellum and regional.

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Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and academic researcher focusing on Black history, heritage and culture. Public historian primarily in Black American historical foodways: antebellum and regional.

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