“Mama” Louise Hudson, the longtime Macon fixture whose generosity nourished heroes, has died at age 93.
Born on July 26, 1929 in Youngstown, Ohio but raised from infancy in Warrenton, Georgia, Hudson moved to Macon in 1952, waiting tables and cooking at various eateries before going into business with her first cousin Inez Hill and christening the now iconic H&H Restaurant in 1968.
The following year, Mama Louise entered rock n’ roll lore when she served a starving but nervous Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley, ultimately catching the newly arrived long-haired musicians attempting to feed the entire Allman Brothers Band with just two plates of food. As the tale goes, Mama Louise wasn’t letting anyone go hungry that day, and she offered up full meals for all (on credit, of course– which was settled each time the outfit returned from the road).
The half-century relationship between the ABB, Hudson, and H&H is as integral to the mythology of Southern Rock as any recording studio, stage, or song.
“One of the only places we really felt at home was down at Mama Louise’s little restaurant,” ABB friend and roadie Joseph “Red Dog” Campbell told the Oxford American in 2000. “At the H&H, they didn’t care if we were white or black or purple,” remembered Red Dog, who remained a near daily visitor (always through the back door) to H&H until his passing in 2011. “She just fed us fried chicken and loved us.”
When asked how she became a cook, Mama Louise told interviewers from Mercer University in 2009 that she learned “because I was from the country” and that she never used recipes. “My mind tells me and that’s what I do.”
Other artists have credited Hudson with feeding their souls, including Lee Roy Parnell and the late Col. Bruce Hampton (who called her the “Mother Teresa of Macon”), and it would be impossible to calculate or qualify how many hearts and bellies left full and simply better after enjoying a visit to “The H” with Mama Louise smiling and holding court with a spoon in her hand.
“There’s a very good possibility,” said Gregg Allman in 2006, “That without Mama Louise there wouldn’t be an Allman Brothers Band.”
Mama Louise passed surrounded by family and those that love her. A wake will be held on Friday, November 18th at Richard Robinson Funeral Home from 6pm until 8pm with the funeral to commence at Macedonia Church on Saturday, November 19th. Mama Louise will be laid to rest at Macon Memorial Park.