For nearly fifty uninterrupted years, Willie Mae Seaton presided on Saint Ann Street in New Orleans' Seventh Ward, first as the bartender at Willie Mae's Scotch House and then, following an expansion, as the establishment's chef. At one point in its history, the Scotch House topped out at five employees, including Willie Mae's late daughter Lillie, but the proprietress eventually scaled back. "I don't like no big, big restaurant," she explained. Just prior to Hurricane Katrina, Willie Mae's son, Charles, and her grand-daughter, Kerry, tended to the 28 customers the restaurant could accommodate at one sitting, while Willie Mae herself, at 89 years old, fried chicken to a stunning crisp, seasoned red beans with garlic and pickle tips, and simmered okra and tomato into summery gumbos.
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