Monday, November 20


This past weekend, volunteers worked at the Scotch House to make it ready for Ms. Seaton's return over the holidays. A crew of SFA members and local volunteers labored Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This weekend's work was truly transformative: the tile in the bathroom is almost complete, the baseboards and molding are finished and sealed, and ceiling fans are in place. Her front doors even have a fresh coat of paint.

Ms. Seaton came by to visit around 3 p.m. on Sunday and was delighted with the progress she witnessed. As is customary, she promised every volunteer that she'd fry them a plate of chicken just as soon as her doors reopened.

The restaurant side of the Scotch House still needs significant work, but we're fortunate to have received a truckload of donated kitchen equipment from friends in South Carolina. Work to install a grease trap will begin soon, and once the kitchen's vent hood is in place we'll proceed quickly to install appliances and ready the restaurant for a December opening.

At the very end of the day on Sunday, volunteers moved furniture into the front living room and added a chifferobe and some night stands to the bedroom. Though there's still work to be done, the place is beginning to look like a real home. Crews will continue to labor throughout this week. We'll look forward to turning on the power and finishing up last details with the trim. Locals are making arrangements to help Ms. Seaton move her personal items from storage over the holidays.

A few volunteers took a rest on the living room couch just before leaving. It was an amazing feeling to sit in a finished living room on Sunday afternoon, nearly a year after we made the initial commitment to rebuild.

Thanks to all those involved for painting, tiling, sawing, cleaning, sanding, donating, and cooking. Whatever your project entailed this weekend, or this year, know that you're appreciated.

To see photos from the weekend, visit Leslie Kelly's blog:

As you consider your end-of-year donations, please note that dollars are still needed to fund the completion of this project. A generous benefactor has offered loan support to see the construction through to its end, but we still need to raise $65,000. Please send donations payable to the Gulf Coast Renaissance Fund to GCRF, c/o Southern Foodways Alliance, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677.