Thursday, January 29, 2015



By Doc Lawrence

CSS SHENANDOAH  by Patrick O'Brien
Just north of Atlanta, the lovely city of Roswell is home to stately Bulloch Hall, once home of Theodore Roosevelt’s mother, Mittie Bulloch and his “Uncle Jimmie,” James Dunwoody Bulloch. Mr. Bulloch was in the news this week in Australia where the Seaworks Maritime Festival in Melbourne celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of one of Bulloch’s masterpieces, the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah.

Living in Liverpool during the Civil War, James Bulloch headed a blockade running industry sending war material into the South while producing warrior ships like the CSS Alabama, CSS Florida, CSS Atlanta and the CSS Shenandoah.. It was the Shenandoah that found its way into international naval history.

In January 1865, the CSS Shenandoah docked in Port Phillip, creating one of the greatest stories of early colonial Melbourne and Australia’s only significant link to the American Civil War. According to Maritime Festival officials, the fabled ship arrived unannounced in Hobsons Bay on its way to the North Pacific Ocean to destroy the Union whaling fleet. While resupplying in Melbourne, the Shenandoah recruited 42 British sailors as crewmen and went on to capture or sink 39 commercial ships flying the American flag s over the next six months. The captain of the Shenandoah was unaware that the Civil War had ended in April.

The 2015 Melbourne Festival
After the Civil War, James Dunwoody Bulloch remained in Liverpool and became a wealthy cotton broker. At the urging of his famous nephew, he wrote a memoir, The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe. President Roosevelt, speaking at Bulloch Hall, praised James Bulloch for his naval expertise and the high quality of his character.

Bulloch is buried in Liverpool's Toxeth Park Cemetery and his headstone bears the inscription: An American by birth, an Englishman by choice. His grave is a popular stop for tourists.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


                                  “Delta is ready when you are!”
                                                Lewis Grizzard’s Advice to Critics

Bill Oberst, Jr. as Lewis Grizzard
By Doc Lawrence

Has it been that long since Lewis Grizzard left us? On the road, when  I’m identified as a Georgia boy, his name and stories regularly enter the conversation. “Did you know him? some ask. First time I met Lewis was at Manuel’s Tavern during my Emory days. He was introduced to me by the legendary bar owner as “a bright sportswriter who may have a future.”

Soon, Grizzard left for a sports reporter position in Chicago, which, by all accounts he hated. “The only good thing about Chicago,” he later said, “is Interstate 65 south.”

That was Lewis the funny guy who would say anything as long as it was on target or outrageous. I had some time with him over the years but was never a member of his inner circle. My admiration was from his columns and recordings, many of which are classics of Southern humor.

Now, the fine actor Bill Oberst, Jr. has mastered the challenge of becoming the stage version of Lewis. Successfully channeling Lewis by delighting audiences throughout the country, For the 13th straight year Oberst brings the humorist back to Stone Mountain’s acclaimed Art Station Theatre. Count on two hours of laughs, priceless memories and maybe a few tears. When, through Oberst, Lewis warns to “never eat barbecue in North Carolina,” you’ll look around to see who isn’t laughing. His story about Sherman’s massive army stopped dead in their tracks by a Confederate sniper on Stone Mountain is a classic. And when Lewis reminds everyone to call their mother, I join many others in wiping away some tears.

“Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words” is performed on January 15, 16 and 17 at 8 PM and Sunday January 18 at 3 PM. See for more information.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-The annual parade had special meaning this year. Like many villages across the nation, the day after Thanksgiving is the first day of the Christmas season. But in Stone Mountain, a lovely historic city nestled beside the mighty granite monolith, this parade was part of the 175th anniversary celebration.

Floats, antique cars, bagpipe marching bands, theatrical groups, gospel choirs and more strutted down the Main Street cheered on by several thousand holiday revelers.

Small towns know how to compress joy, peace and goodwill into something intimate that touches the heartstrings. For just a few hours, roasting marshmallows over warming fires brought different people together. On this starry night not far from Atlanta’s shopping districts, the laughter of children replaced the travails of daily living.

There was Santa Claus. The jolly old man with real snow-white hair and beard came on his motorized sleigh and to no one’s surprise stole the show, stopping from time to time to receive wish lists from wide-eyed kids.

On the hill above Main Street, the stunningly beautiful Nativity scene created by a group of talented members of Stone Mountain First Baptist Church was unveiled. Made with hand-sawed wood, everything was adorned with appropriate artwork images and illuminated with floodlights. Behind the baby in the manger, parents Mary and Joseph, and visitors from other lands was the evening finale.

Right on cue, the fireworks safely exploded high above the crowd.

Over five million people visit the famous mountain each year. Stone Mountain Village offers the most spectacular view for observers and photographers. On the hill facing the mountain, the lighted tree atop the mountain compliments the city’s holiday lights. The gazebo is lovely by day and ablaze by night.

Peace on earth and goodwill toward all reigned in Stone Mountain. May this spirit become contagious.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA- “He’s today’s best voice for the authentic South,” says Frank Spence. That was a typical reaction to author and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg after a couple of hours at the Carter Presidential Library discussing the critically acclaimed new book, "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story." Spence, an accomplished raconteur, is a former ranking executive with the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons who knows the South well and can spot a fellow-traveler.

Showcasing his Alabama-accented natural humor to a packed house, Bragg read passages from his book which just hit The New York Times best-seller list. The haunting words belonged somewhere between William Faulkner and Larry Brown.

Bragg, once an Atlanta resident while stationed at The New York Times Atlanta bureau, related hilarious meetings with Jerry Lee Lewis, known also as “The Killer,” was pleased with the final product. “There wasn't a day when he didn't say something that made a story in the book."

Lewis, the 79-year-old “Whole Lotta Shakin’”musician, is still performing. The rock and roll pioneer who began in Memphis at Sun Studio with Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins known collectively as the “Million Dollar Quartet,” has led a tumultuous life, but survived to tell his story through Bragg’s writing talent and intimate understanding of the fiery pianist from rural Louisiana. 

For those who were nearly emotionally shattered by Bragg’s masterpiece, “All Over but the Shouting,” Jerry Lee’s fascinating story is just as entertaining, much like the string of classic hits since the late 1950’s. Success is juxtaposed with controversy dotted with some spicy outrage.

Bragg told his audience that  “Jerry Lee is interesting.” Yes, interesting like a tornado or raging bonfire. Buy the book, fasten your seat belt and take a ride with Jerry Lee into the real South.

Southern Thymes Shared. Beautiful and permanent. Stories, recipes and wines in the Jefferson hospitality tradition. Available at bookstores and Amazon.

Monday, November 10, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

NEW ORLEANS-The New Orleans Bourbon Society continues to introduce distilled spirits that fit the modern American palate and elevate contemporary lifestyles. For those who haven’t enjoyed Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey, here’s your big chance. And where better to drink this exciting whiskey than New Orleans?

Like everything in the Lone Star State, Garrison Brothers-the first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in Texas- had big dreams from the start: No “pop” or trendy bourbon. Instead, make a legitimate contender for one of the best bourbons to emerge in the marketplace.  

Homegrown and handcrafted, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from organic yellow corn from the Texas Panhandle, premium organic winter wheat grown on their ranch and two-row barley from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. They grind the grain fresh daily and cook their own sweet mash – one batch at a time. Then, they marry the distillate with fresh Hill Country purified rainwater.

The bourbon dinner has an exalted place with a growing number of gourmet restaurants. Here’s the menu at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House in the fabled French Quarter of New Orleans. The venue is also the home of the New Orleans Bourbon Society. Come on over and we’ll have a glass or two during cocktail and hors d’oeuvre hour just before this amazing four course dinner.


First Course
Smoked Scallop Crudo
with jalapeƱos, citrus jus and sea salt

Second Course
Cane syrup Braised Pork Belly
with pimento cheese grits and cracklins

Third Course
Five Spice Crusted Chappapeala Farms Duck Breast
with peanut sauce, peppers and micro herb salad

Fourth Course
Apple and Fig Crostata
with brown butter ice cream and apple bourbon sauce

The Bourbon House is located at144 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.
Reservations: (504) 522-0111

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



By Doc Lawrence

LYNCHBURG, TN- This arguably is the singular event that combines all the heritage ingredients of America, showcasing the tapestry of our country. Visit here in this very small village that looks like a Norman Rockwell painting and the cultural exploration begins. Tour the distillery and the museum and the name Jack Daniel ranks alongside Tennessee legends like Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Elvis lived and died in the Volunteer state and the historic distillery is an easy drive from Nashville. There’s barbecue, easily the most popular food in America, and on this glorious weekend, masters of the grill-all champions back home-come to vie for prize money and prestige, friendly competition at the 26th edition of what is known throughout the world as “The Jack.”

One of the country’s top fall attractions, “Jack” is more than competition, it’s an international contest with barbecue champs from faraway lands like South Africa and Germany competing with other nations for one of the awards to take home. Reunion is an operative word here and on this weekend, greeting Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and other notables including Tennessee’s gifted Director of Tourism Susan Whitaker.

Too often overlooked is the wonderful role Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey has as a flavoring for food: Stewed apples, Peach cobbler, Hummingbird cake, and more. Lara Lyn Carter, the fast rising TV star whose cooking show has caused the earth to tremble throughout the South, has taken this noble beverage into her recipes and you’ll enjoy the magic in each bite.

With the holidays just around the corner, Lara Lyn says, “this might be a great time to enjoy food from the sea before the traditional feasts of turkey, ham and roasts.” Here’s her extraordinary original recipe made of course, with Jack Daniel’s.

Scallops in Jack Daniel’s Cream Sauce
                 Lara Lyn Carter
6 slices bacon
1 sweet onion chopped
Lara Lyn Carter
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1 lb. scallops
1 lb. cooked linguine
Chop bacon into one-inch pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat until done. Remove bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add butter and garlic to skillet cooking for one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for one more minute. Add cream and Jack Daniel’s stirring until well blended. Add scallops to cream mixture and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes until the scallops are cooked through. Serve the sauce over linguine and sprinkle bacon over top.

Begin with a fine aperitif:
Jack’s Manhattan
Two parts Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
One part Sweet Vermouth
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice. Strain and serve straight up. Garnish with Maraschino cherry.

Pairing a wine with Lara Lyn’s creation adds dining adventure. A sparkling wine from Italy blends well to magnify some of the flavors, particularly the natural sweetness of the scallops. Santero Asti Spumante NV features bubbles moving like small aircraft, a light straw color, and a delicious nose of yeasty sweet citrus with loads of wonderful taste. 

Holiday Gift Suggestion.
Southern Thymes Shared features a collection of Lara Lyn Carter’s original recipes along with stories about family, friends and places in the Deep South. A lovely production complete with wine pairings, it glows on a coffee table.