Help SoFAB renovate the historic property that will be the SoFAB Culinary Library!

What we're doing:

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum has just bought a historic property that will become our first stand-alone research library.

The building is directly across the street from the museum's future home, so it will be convenient for researchers to visit both the musuem and the library. At the moment, the building is virtually gutted, making this a big project to bring it back to the functional and beautiful property it once was. One of the first, and most important, steps in this process is to install windows! The windows have to be made specially (they're not to be found on the shelves in Home Depot!) and installed carefully to retain the historic character.

Why it's really important to the community:

Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, New Orleans has been an incubator for research on recovery from natural disasters, especially in low income and resource poor neighborhoods. The devastation to the New Orleans Public Libraries was almost complete with every one of the thirteen libraries damaged in one way or another by Hurricane Katrina. Hardest hit have been neighborhoods that throughout history have had limited access to public services including museums and libraries. Central City is one of those neighborhoods.

SoFAB hopes to further our commitment to fully recognizing and representing the contributions African Americans have made in the culinary and foodways in the soon to be opened SoFAB Culinary Library.

With this in mind, the Museum has committed to contribute to not only the urban redevelopment of New Orleans, but the revitalization of a once thriving African American business and social district which still is centrally located in an African American area of New Orleans, the Dryades Street/Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard area.

Why it's important for everyone:

The mission of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum is to document and celebrate the food and foodways of the south. One way to document these things is through the collection of books, pamphlets, journals, etc. in a library. The library contains rare books, unusual books, and many community cookbooks, which are not readily available elsewhere. The library will serve the community as a resource for culinary students, scholars and just those interested in food and foodways. The current collection contains about 9000 volumes but it's constantly growing. All books at SoFAB are considered important and will be maintained, because these books will have historic and cultural value, even if out of date, inaccurate or trivial. Scholars will need some place where these books can be found, and we want to be there. The SoFAB Library will also contain videos and DVDs and other digital media. There are plans for book clubs, storytelling, and other library programs.

A selction of these culinary books are currently available at the New Orleans Public Library through a partnership between SoFAB and NOPL.


Please consider donating to this fundraiser to help make this culinary library a reality in New Orleans.

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    SoFAB is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink.
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