Few All Y’all storytellers have ever seemed so comfortable in the spotlight as “Momma and Daddy” storyteller Dr. Jaya McSharma. Jaya had our sold-out audience in the palm of her hand from the moment that she stepped onstage, eliciting roars of laughter and more than a few tears. Her story takes us inside an Indian-American family on the cusp of gaining a new family member.
I will never forget the first conversation that Sara and I had with Colonel Samuel Mims, a pastor, environmental activist and community organizer who spoke at All Y’all Live: I Fought the Law on July 16, 2016. Colonel Mims was sitting in his pickup truck in a gravel parking lot in Minden, Louisiana, where we’d arranged to meet. When Sara and I began to explain how the All Y’all process works (we meet with storytellers, rehearse and help them refine their stories in the weeks leading up to each live event), Colonel Mims gently but firmly held up a hand and said: “Now, I’m not going to be doing any rehearsals. That’s just not me.”
When he took the All Y’all stage, we had no idea what Colonel Mims was going to say. He delivered a fiery call to action fueled by his righteous indignation over what he sees as systemic failures of leadership in Louisiana. In his voice, we hear anger and exasperation, but we also hear love and hope.
Tell your ears to put on their stretchy pants! The first-ever episode of Stuffed & Busted is here, and it’s about all-you-can-eat buffets. In this episode, you will (hopefully) be entertained by such segments as:
Chris’s dad, Donny Jay, talks about his love of all-you-can-eat crab leg nights at DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City.
Chris and Sara take video game designer Alex Gold to Golden Corral for Sunday brunch.
Chef David Bridges shares his “expansive” method of systematically eating his way through the Sumo Supreme Buffet in Shreveport.
Pancho’s Mexican Buffet enthusiast Michael Zuniga reflects on a lifetime spent raising the flag for more sopapillas.
In a recurring segment called “Ask a Dang Farmer,” we visit with Newt Lynn of Lynn Family Farms in Belcher.
Chris and Sara share their personal (and possibly worthless!) opinions on the local food and drink scene. Good stuff gets “stuffed” and the bad stuff gets “busted.”
Our goal is to produce a new podcast each month. Please like Stuffed & Busted on Facebook and, if you enjoyed the episode, please share it with your millions of followers on social media, in virtual worlds, Pokémon Go, etc. If you hated the episode, please keep that to yourself.
Stuffed & Busted is currently seeking advertisers. If, after hearing the first episode of this crazy podcast, you still want to promote your business to our listeners, you can do so for as little as $100 per episode. We promise that great fortunes will immediately be showered upon the businesses of our advertisers.* To request more information on sponsorship opportunities, e-mail email@example.com, call (318) 272-1696 or message us via our Facebook page.
Storyteller Sarah Smith took the All Y’all stage in July 2016, during our live event entitled “I Fought the Law,” to share her personal account of trial by fire. The first case that Smith ever took to trial during her time as a public defender turned out to be a maelstrom of media coverage, protests and social media outrage.
Much of the public has only heard one side of this highly publicized story, which involved accusations of animal cruelty against a young black man from Shreveport. In this episode of the All Y’all podcast, we present another perspective on this controversial case.
All Y’all Live: “Haunted” Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12
The 10th All Y’all Live storytelling event, “Haunted,” will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016 at Remington Suite Hotel & Spa in downtown Shreveport. For lots more information and a link to buy tickets, check out the official event announcement. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Louisiana Association for the Blind thanks to the kindness of our season sponsors as well as special “Haunted” event sponsor Remington Suite Hotel & Spa.
Further Reading: Louisiana’s Public Defender Funding Crisis
The Sixth Amendment guarantees all Americans “the right to an attorney.” The idea is simple: if you find yourself in legal trouble and lacking the money to hire a lawyer, the state will hire one on your behalf. But…what happens when the state doesn’t have any money, either?
All Y’all isn’t a resource for “hard news” stories like Louisiana’s public defender funding crisis. But several local news outlets have filed stories about the situation, and the situation continues to draw national attention. We encourage the All Y’all community to get educated about this insane situation. Here are a few links that may be useful in doing so:
When we began All Y’all three years ago (!!!), our friends and community came out of the woodwork to support our events. As a small way to give back, we decided to donate the proceeds of one live storytelling event each year to an organization doing remarkable work in our local community.
In 2014, Chris and I experienced the highs of finding our All Y’all audience and the lows that come along with a family member who struggles with addiction. We were very lucky in that year to have our family benefit from the services of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, an organization who we felt did not receive enough recognition for the remarkable services they provide, often free of charge to people with no other hope. There was no question that CADA would be the recipient of our first annual gift.
In the audience that night were two of our friends, Patrick and Nancy Long, attending their first All Y’all live event. I first met Patrick through my day job at Moonbot Studios, where we collaborated on behind-the-scenes content for our films, apps and books. Patrick was a brilliant storyteller and one of my deepest regrets is that he won’t be able to share one of his incredible stories with our audience. This summer, he passed away after a brave battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which robbed him early on of his voice; but, thankfully, not of his sharp wit and profound advice.
Both Patrick and Nancy have been tremendous in their support of All Y’all since their attendance at our first fundraising event, so we asked them to help us name our annual award. We wanted a way to remember Patrick when he was gone and also the way he and Nancy made us feel invincible; that our work with All Y’all mattered in a big way. Because he couldn’t speak, Patrick texted me his thoughts:
I have been thinking. You are wise to think I wouldn’t want to call it the Trump Grant. Today’s thought.
translation: shreveportese for fixing to; about to; getting ready to.
Fixing = fidning
And so, thanks to him, our annual gift now has a name: The Fidnto Award. It is the perfect fit because each organization that receives the Fidnto Award really is fidnto do something great.
Save the date! The 10th All Y’all live storytelling event, “Haunted,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Remington Suite Hotel & Spa in downtown Shreveport. The evening will feature six true tales of haunted spaces, otherworldly encounters and things that follow us. Confirmed storytellers to date include Cristal Wilcox,Clay Walker,Christopher Louis Wilson, Steven Abney, Phillip Bowman and Kathryn Usher. Admission is $15 and all proceeds will be donated to the Louisiana Association for the Blind in the form of All Y’alls annual Fidnto Award. There will be live musical interludes by Highland-based electronic musician Nate Treme and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are currently on sale.
If you have a great, true story that would fit the theme of “Haunted,” please call our storyteller hotline at (318) 582-0665 and give us an idea of what your story is about. Also, you can message us through our Facebook page and we’ll follow up as soon as we can!
We first met Daniel Ukpabi on an unseasonably cold October morning at Shreveport Farmers’ Market, where he was ladling out steaming bowls of spicy Nigerian stew and telling anyone who’d stop to listen about his fledgling not-for-profit organization, The Pacemakers. At the time, we were just beginning to plan All Y’all Live: “Momma and Daddy,” and we walked away thinking: “Wouldn’t it be great if he had a story about his parents?”
It turns out, he did. Daniel took the stage on Saturday, March 12 at Bossier Arts Council’s East Bank Theatre and charmed the crowd with memories of his youth in Nigeria, a bumpy road to America and a father who wouldn’t give up.
The 2016 season of All Y’all live events and podcasts is made possible by our season sponsor, Holiday Lanes. Holiday Lanes has a special program called Laney’s Club that offers a staggering $1,530 worth of free bowling for kids ages 18 and under! Sign up for Laney’s Club here or tell a friend about it.
If you’ve ever been to an All Y’all live event, chances are good that you’ve eaten a TABASCO-spiked brownie during intermission. Those brownies are baked and donated by All Y’all mentor and supporter Judy Williams, who shows up with two heaping trays of the spicy treats before each and every show. Thank you, Judy!
If you enjoyed this episode, please post it on your Facebook wall! You’d be surprised how much this helps us.
Have you ever met an honest-to-goodness celebrity? All Y’all dedicated an entire night of live storytelling to the topic of celebrity encounters at our June 2015 event, “Brush With Fame.” Tom Ayres’s story from that night – a well-told tale of an airport encounter with an embattled sports icon – was one of the hits of the night. It made us think about all sorts of things: the drawbacks of a life spent in the public eye, the value of a shoulder to lean on, and the commonalities of the human experience.
All Y’all Live: “I Fought the Law” Now Recruiting Storytellers
On Saturday, July 16, 2016, All Y’all Live: “I Fought the Law” will be held at Anderson Auditorium on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana. We’re seeking six powerful, true stories of civil disobedience, righteous indignation, crime and punishment. Do you have a story that would fit this theme? If so, we’d love to hear it! Just call the story hotline at (318) 582-0665 and give us an idea of what your story is about or contact us through our Facebook page. If you’re excited about “I Fought the Law,” please consider RSVPing to the Facebook event and sharing it with friends. Purchase “I Fought the Law” tickets here.
Please Support Our Sponsors
The 2016 season of All Y’all live events and podcasts is made possible by our title sponsor, Holiday Lanes. Holiday Lanes has a special program called Laney’s Club that offers free bowling for kids ages 18 and younger during the summer – all you’ve gotta do is rent the shoes! Sign up for Laney’s Club here or tell a friend about it.
The ninth All Y’all live storytelling event, “I Fought the Law,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 16 in Anderson Auditorium (located in the Hurley Music Building) on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana. The evening will feature six tales of civil disobedience, protest, questionable decision making, crime and struggles for justice. Tickets are $15 each and may be purchased here. Doors will open at 7 p.m. A cash bar (with plenty of local beer!) will be provided by Wine Country Bistro and live musical accompaniment will be performed by Highland-based electronic musician Nate Treme.
Like so many people in Shreveport did, I woke up this morning to the terrible news that Elmer “Bigg Nokey” Henderson died on Tuesday night. By 7:15 a.m., a half-dozen friends and loved ones had called to commiserate. My lifelong friend Chris Allen, who was a friend of Nokey’s and occasionally bought lunch at the makeshift restaurant that Nokey operated out of a portable building in his yard, pointed out something that resonated with me: Bigg Nokey was an absolute embodiment of hope and strength. He was a born restaurateur, a gifted chef and, honest to God, the best networker to ever walk the earth. The first time I met Nokey, to interview him for an article that I wrote about him for Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine, I left that meeting feeling as if I were Nokey’s new best friend. I imagine that he made everyone feel that way. To know him was to love him.
To remember Nokey by talking about his cooking seems a little reductive – he was a great chef and so much more – but you just can’t talk about him without talking about those incredible smoked “Nokey burgers” and his patented “Nokey Rotel,” a sort of kitchen sink version of Rotel dip that Nokey would customize in different versions that he called “exclusives.” If you never ate a platter of Nokey Rotel, I feel so sorry for you. You never will, either. Only one man could make it, and that man improvised with this dip like Ornette Coleman improvised with a saxophone. Nokey Rotel was seldom served exactly the same way twice, but one bite was all it took to know that this was Nokey Rotel.
If Elmer Henderson had been born into different circumstances, he’d have a multi-unit restaurant franchise by now. Kids would be begging their parents to take them to the neighborhood Nokey Burger after school. Despite his not having the resources to realize that dream of restaurant ownership, Nokey created his own version, right from his yard on Ice Cream Street. He dreamed of feeding the world, but he was proud to feed the Cooper Road neighborhood. And, by God, his community absolutely adored him. If we can measure success in this world by the number of folks who love us – and I figure that’s as good a way to do it as any – then Bigg Nokey left this world a millionaire.
There is so much more that I could say: He was incredibly good at using social media to promote his business. He was the most popular vendor at the annual Let the Good Times Roll Festival in downtown Shreveport, which will never be the same without him. He loved his sons very much.
The memory of Nokey that I will always treasure the most is from the day that my wife, Sara, and I hired Nokey to cater our birthday party in 2014. Nokey brought his grill, which he’d customized with blue LED running lights and named “the Nokey Train,” all the way from Cooper Road to Shreve Island, where 50 of us stood in the driveway listening to Old School, drinking beer and devouring incredible Nokey Burgers. Always in demand, he had to cater another event after our party, and he pulled out of the driveway with the grill still lit. Floating on a cloud of blue LED light, flames roared out of the Nokey Train as he sped to the next stop. That’s how I imagine he just pulled up in the afterlife: Nokey Train hooked up and glowing, windows down, music blaring, Nokey looking for a prime spot to get set up and feed the people.