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Seasons at Lakeside Dairy - Family Stories from a Black-Owned Dairy, Louisiana to California and Beyond

Seasons at Lakeside Dairy

Family Stories from a Black-Owned Dairy, Louisiana to California and Beyond

By Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins
Series: Atlantic Migrations and the African Diaspora

Hardcover : 9781496852090, 240 pages, 64 b&w illustrations, July 2024

Table of contents

My Seasons in LA—Stop and Listen, Look to the Sky, Can You Smell the Ocean?
Home in LA
Yellow Cornmeal Cornbread
Red Beans and Rice
Granny Smith Apple
Stewed Apricots with Lemon
Fresh Lemon Butter Pound Cake
Chapter One: The Bates Siblings Find a Home in Los Angeles
“Uncle’s Westside” by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins
Death’s Fingers
Red Clay and Beef Tamales
The Little Boat
“Auntie Sisterhood” by Deborah LeFalle
The Starlight Country School and Educating Black Children
Daddy’s Mishap on the Rails with Chicken
Turnip Greens with Bottoms
Hot Water Cornbread
Aunt Lilly’s Cornish Hens
Chapter Two: A Residency in a French Village
A Shortcut Through the Corn Fields
Chunky Quince Spread
Chapter Three: Seasons at Lakeside Dairy
The Fire of 1925
Two Families Unknowingly Cross Paths
Collard Greens
Cabbage and Carrots
Carrots and Turnips
Butter Beans (Lima Beans)
Chapter Four: Working through the Icy Winter Days and Nights
Crafting in the Winter Months
Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Christmas Nut Cake
Chapter Five: Spring Planning for the Next Year
Aunt Lizzetta & Aunt Lilly’s Teacakes
Chapter Six: Summer Growing, Gathering, and Cooking on Hot and Lazy Days
Okra, Corn, and Tomato Succotash
Easy Peach Cobbler
Chapter Seven: Fall Returns and Grandpa Dies in Early December
Grandpa’s Death
Losing Wilma
The Mule and the Plow
Duck Gumbo
Chapter Eight: The Legacy and Historical and Cultural Context of Lakeside Dairy
The Coachwhip Snake Incident
Driving from Tuskegee to Fisk University in a Red Rag-Top Volkswagen Convertible
Figs Out Back
Fig Preserves
Every Morning Buttermilk Biscuits
Wild Plum Jam
Appendix: Family Tree

A brilliant storytelling showcase of the enduring legacy of a Black-owned dairy and its impact across generations


Opened in 1907 in Shreveport, Louisiana, by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins’s grandfather, Black dairy farmer Angus Bates, Lakeside Dairy was a rarity in the post-Reconstruction South. The dairy thrived despite the time's challenging, racially oppressive, and hostile social and political climate. While Lakeside Dairy closed in 1943, Angus’s life and work legacy echoed through the Bates family for generations.

LeFalle-Collins structures her narrative around familial creative storytelling heard as a child, supported by family ephemera about the dairy and the family’s social and community engagement. These documents directed her historical research as Seasons at Lakeside Dairy tracks life on the farm through the year, showing how the family worked, lived, and cooked and how they made a sustainable living in a climate of pervasive racism. Survival in the farming community was mainly due to the influence of George Washington Carver, who disseminated innovative recommendations for farmers, and Booker T. Washington, who advocated for Black entrepreneurs to remain and rebuild the South to make it their own. Angus Bates passed in 1935, and his spouse Carrie D. Bates, who had always been the dairy's partner and financial manager, rebranded the dairy in her name with her sons until closing. Realizing Shreveport held few opportunities for her children, she encouraged them to move west, a migratory route followed by many Black Louisianans.

Family members’ voices are interwoven into each chapter with direct quotations, creative storytelling, historical contexts, ephemera, and healthier recipes based on family favorites. Seasons at Lakeside Dairy offers unique insight into their persistence, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and joy. Migration tales also open a window into the complex history of race and identity, continuing as they became homeowners in the West.