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Paula Deen museum cooks up exciting possibilities

Editorial

It’s hard to come up with a bigger name that has come out of Albany than the Southern belle of Food Network, Paula Deen.

It’s also hard to hear someone say, “Hey, y’all” without it instantly bringing to mind Deen’s cheerful, heartfelt greeting to her viewers.

In fact, perhaps “Hey, y’all” would be an appropriate greeting to emblazon above the front door of a Paula Deen museum that is being planned for Albany.

A museum recognizing the accomplishments of Deen, who has become one of the nation’s top ambassadors for Southern culture and cuisine, is a worthy endeavor, one that we hope will quickly come to fruition.

In an interview with The Albany Herald, Deen sounded enthused about the museum, which would be housed in Deen’s childhood home. The effort has been led by B.J. Fletcher, an Albany businesswoman who has been active in finding ways to improve the community, and Deen’s former husband, Jimmy Deen. Downtown Albany officials said they are working to help make this happen.

“It just takes my breath away that folks back in Albany would consider doing something like this,” Deen told The Herald. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around this incredible honor. I would want something like this to be a symbol of hope for people looking to make their lives better.”

Indeed, Paula Deen is a prime example of how an individual can succeed — and even find stardom — by working hard, being smart at business and producing a quality product — homestyle cooking with a heavy seasoning of authentic Southern charm — that people want.

The local girl who moved away (to Savannah) and made it big hasn’t forgotten her hometown. Deen’s a frequent visitor to Albany and Southwest Georgia, whether headlining a fundraiser for GraceWay Recovery Center here or teaming with former President Jimmy Carter in Plains for a dinner to benefit the fight against cancer.

The plan appears to be to move Deen’s childhood home from its Whitney Avenue location to the plaza area at the Thronateeska Heritage Foundation, which also houses one of Albany’s most underappreciated entertainment venues — the Wetherbee Planetarium. There’s reason to be optimistic that a Paula Deen museum along with the planetarium and heritage museum — all a stone’s throw from the Flint RiverQuarium, the river trail and the Art Park on Pine Avenue — would attract more visitors.

“I’m just so excited about the possibilities,” Deen said about the museum.

And so are we.

Comments

shaunb74 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Just what this area needs, another Riverquarium that can't support itself. As a collegue of mine said "How many ways can you display butter?". Waste of money!!!!

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NotVinceDooley 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You still can't get past the fact that Albany is a backwater town far off any beaten path. Museum might be nice for the handful of locals who worship cooking celebrity, but beyond that? Not much..... If it comes to pass, I predict a monthly average attendance of around 5, not counting friends and relatives.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months, 2 weeks ago

REALLY????????????? Three separate, freaking articles about the Paula Deen museum in the Herald in the past 24 hours????? The Herald must thinks its own future in inexorably linked to it!!

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Friends, do you begin to understand how popular this lady is? It might be something that could be done creatively without tax dollars and, alas, without you. When she comes to town she spreads the money. And there ain't nothing that feels much better than having some cabbage in the wallet. Put your thinking caps on here. Do any of you know what the Smithsonian Institute is? Well, let's just say it's a big deal museum, real big. Do you know the actual American home kitchen of Julia Childs is located therein and is one of the most popular attractions? Duh.

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MRKIA 11 months, 2 weeks ago

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS. A P.D. MUSEUM? YOU EXPECT A LOT FROM LEE CO. RESIDENTS.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Popular............where?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And wherever that is, will they come down to the Boonies to go to her museum? And how many will come? And how many times will they come?

NO MORE NON PROFITS in ALBANY!!

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Geez Sis, You name it. Leno, Letterman, Oprah, Oz, Ray, Today show, her own program. You gotta be kiddin.

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NotVinceDooley 11 months, 2 weeks ago

She's popular among the celebs. Those not in that orbit could really care less. You'll notice, unless you're blinded by liberalism, that the liberals in media are quite self-congratulatory, and love raising up their own.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 1 week ago

Not VD, I think it is VD and you just didn't finish your penicillin shots and your parts aren't working. The idea is capitalism, VD. Green geetis, cabbage, simoleons, jobs. You guys live in a deep rut and the only daylight you see is the top of trench. The lady has a lot more than curb appeal. BJ has an idea that needs to be vetted. Anything with possibility scares hell out of the trogs like you because if it were to succeed you wouldn't have anything to rail against. Hasn't nothing to do with politics and you make it clear that's how you want to frame it.

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NotVinceDooley 11 months, 1 week ago

If you think liberalism is about only politics, you're sadly mistaken. It's a mindset and a worldview, it just happens to be currently playing out in the political arena most loudly at the moment.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 1 week ago

VD, you don't have the slightest idea about what you are writing.

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NotVinceDooley 11 months, 1 week ago

I don't? Gee, I didn't realize that!

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agirl_25 11 months, 1 week ago

I wonder if anyone from the Deen, Paul, or Hiers families are commenting here? Cousins?? In laws?? Seems to me there are more no votes than yes votes but the yes votes are very adamant. I don't care about a museum being built or not, as it's not my tax dollars that are gonna be used.

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rock 11 months, 1 week ago

What idiot could possibly compare the Smithsonian Museum(s) in washington D.C. to a rinky dink museun of a woman who no longer calls Albany home. This will be yet another eye sore to the Albany Area, dedicated to people with a small claim to Albany, that will lose tens of thousands of dolllars and then ask for bailout by the city. RQ, Civic center, ACRM. If Paula Deen wants it, let HER fund it, maintain it, and oversee it's daily operation. She does have the money after all.

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Ihope4albany 11 months, 1 week ago

I understand why there is so much excitement about this opportunity. Most economic development efforts focus on trying to bring whites back to Albany. Look at the focus of efforts recently -- kayaking, expensive loft apartments, ...

Sadly though, economic development policy almost completely leaves out how to create job opportunities for the low educated population that is stuck here and is not a candidate for moving on.

So until all of the social service agencies including Uncle Sam stop funding handing out fish and instead create fishing jobs, I am sad to report that all the Paula Deen Museums and other white culture economic development activities won't bring the Old Albany back B.J. and B.J. supporters for Mayor.

It takes a strong economic infrastructure of people to make any area attractive enough for all cultures. I hope for that Albany!

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FryarTuk 11 months, 1 week ago

Ihop: " Most economic development efforts focus on trying to bring whites back to Albany. Look at the focus of efforts recently -- kayaking, expensive loft apartments, ..."

IT'S GREEN, BABY, GREEN. Show me the money and I'll show you the jobs. Get out of the gutter.

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erock 11 months, 1 week ago

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but what the heck has Paula Deen done for Albany lately. If Paula Deen wants her a museum in Albany, then by God let Paula Deen pay for it.

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agirl_25 11 months, 1 week ago

Ihope4Albany......there are expensive loft apartments in Albany? Where? Interesting.

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