Born into the vibrant, multicultural world of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Dianne Honore’ is a proud witch, voodoo worker and voodoo practitioner although she is most passionate about being a truthful storyteller.
“My focus is on education … teaching our culture and our history of Louisiana, not just New Orleans,” Honore’ said. “I try to include many of the groups that first settled in Louisiana because I feel that they have left the most significant footprint in our culture today. I always say I’d like people to leave with a little gift of who we are and we get that through education, especially truthful story telling.”
It’s why she is helping to bring back “The Unheard Voices of Destrehan Plantation” tours.
“It encompasses all the marginalized groups of people who cultivated Louisiana’s heritage such as the German farmers, Acadians, enslaved Africans, and native Americans, and what they taught the French and the lay of the land, as well as Sicilians and their contributions.
“This tour expresses those voices. It comes from good storytelling and gives equity to certain facts and really knowing your history.”
Nicknamed “Gumbo Marie,” Honore’ is a native New Orleanian whose family owned Hank’s Restaurant for about 50 years. The restaurant was known for its delicious gumbo. She became a tour guide and local historian – and the name stuck. She teaches at the New Orleans School of Cooking and does demonstrations in the French Market with creole cuisine and a lot of gumbo.
And, yes, Ret. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore’ is her cousin.
She’s also a descendant of the same Jean-Baptiste Destrehan who founded the plantation in the community of the same name, so Honore’ knows the history.
“It gives me greater insight into our history,” Honore’ said. “There are many facets to our family history. It touches on nearly every aspect of our history. We settled on the German Coast.”
She’s also working with the plantation’s tour guides to help tell this history.
“We want each historical interpreter to tell these stories in a very balanced way, which no other plantation does,” she said. “It’s not just in the verbage, but the whole storytelling process to make people understand the weight and balance to the people who contributed to what we have today.”
In one example, Honore’ said she hopes to dispel the misconception that creole slaves had it better, which was untrue.
“I think it’s a really good thing because it’s opening a big door and giving voice to our true history,” she said. “We’re looking through the kaleidoscope of history, not just the microscope of history.”
- Descendant of Jean-Baptiste Destrehan
- Got her nickname by working in family’s restaurant.
- Passionate about education and reviving “The Unheard Voices of Destrehan Plantation” tour.