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A Culinary Celebration of Women’s History Month Series: Two Sisters

Dorothy and Shanel Finisters, current owners of Two Sisters Restaurant in New Orleans, Shrimp, Okra, and Tomato Sauté recipe below 
Lots of traditional African American owned restaurants have gone out of business in many cities over the last two decades. The African American entrepreneurs who started some of these restaurants used their hard earned profits to purchase, renovate, and expand their homes and businesses and put their children through college. As they aged, they either had no one to continue the business as they grew too old to keep up with the work or they sometimes discouraged their children from going into the tough restaurant business with the long hours and little vacation time. Originally two sisters, one of them named Odell Lewis operated, Two Sisters Restaurant in New Orleans’s historic African American Treme district. The original owners sold the restaurant in 1972 to Dorothy Finister a New Orleans Native with Mississippi roots. The story goes that Finister husband a native of Monroe, Louisiana regularly ate at Two Sisters and when Ms. Odell and her sister got too old to keep the place he decided to buy it with his wife to give her and her daughters something to do. Dorothy Finister grew up in New Orleans surrounded by great cooks including her Mississippi born mother from whom she learned how to make red beans and rice. From her aunt, also from Mississippi, she learned how to make shrimp and okra. Actually her aunt made it with crab and it came out more like a gumbo. But Finister decided to go with shrimp in okra and she argues that she is the one who popularized okra on New Orleans’ restaurant menus. Two Sisters is located at223 North Derbigny off of Iberville-Bienville Street. Here is a similar shrimp and okra recipe below.

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