Hi! My name is Zella Palmer. I was named after my great grandmother, Zella Locklear, a Lumbee Native descendant from North Carolina who was a healer, wife, mother and activist.
I consider myself a re-pat, a second generation removed from the South who left Chicago to return to my father’s roots in New Orleans many years ago. Currently, I am the Chair and Director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. I am also a mom, writer, curator, culinary historian, professor and dancer. I have a passion for travel, thrifting, cooking, farming, meditation, yoga and dining out with friends and family.
Vertamae Grosvenor in her 1970 cookbook, Vibration Cooking or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl wrote that she cooked and lived by vibration….never weighing or measuring anything but rather being conscious of smell, intuition and ancestral knowledge. That concept resonates with me deeply.
On Maison Zella, I will share what I consider to be vibrational living. Where culture, good vibes and food meets in the the city I love, New Orleans.
More about me:
Zella Palmer, educator, food historian, author and filmmaker serves as the Chair and Director of the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture.Palmer is committed to preserving the legacy of African-American, Native American and Latino culinary history in New Orleans and the South. Palmer curated the Story of New Orleans Creole Cooking: The Black Hand in the Pot academic conference and documentary, Nellie Murray Feast and the Dr. Rudy Joseph Lombard: Black Hand in the Pot Lecture Series.