‘Cash mob’ infuses H&H with customers

hgoodridge@macon.comAugust 30, 2013 

Word got out that Macon’s H&H Restaurant has fallen on hard times.

A Macon civic club decided to give the business an economic stimulus Friday in the form of a “cash mob.”

“Our club decided we wanted to do more ... and we talked about doing a cash mob for a local business that needed help,” said Jessica Walden, a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club.

The “mob,” a couple dozen members of the club, committed to spending at least $10 each at the iconic Forsyth Street restaurant, known for its down-home Southern cooking and soul food.

“Mama Louise started a tradition of generosity when some long hair, skinny kids came in and didn’t have any money,” Walden said of the beloved restaurant owner, Louise Hudson, affectionately called “Mama” by her customers and everyone who knows her.

As she cooked a fresh batch of cornbread in the kitchen Friday, Hudson said she still remembered the day when those two guys came in.

It was late one afternoon in the early ’70s when Hudson saw them.

“It was Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley,” she recalled, founding members of the Allman Brothers Band.

The encounter was long before the group’s success as pioneers of Southern rock.

“I looked out the window and said ‘Here comes some of those long hair white folks,’ ” Hudson recalled.

The two men walked in, but they didn’t say anything for several minutes.

“They just stood there, ... and I finally said ‘Can I help you?’ ” she said.

They said they didn’t have any money and asked her for food. They told her they were in a band and were about to hit the road and promised to pay her back when they returned.

Hudson gave them two plates of food.

Four other band members walked in, and they all shared food off the two plates. Seeing that they didn’t have enough, Hudson said she fixed more food and made sure they all had plenty.

“Little did she know that what she did would make her an icon in Southern rock,” Walden said.

Feeding the young men started a relationship between Hudson and the band members that continues today.

“I fell in love with them,” Hudson said. “You have to love people. ... I can’t help it. I love everybody. You can’t worry about what color people are. ...When I die, I want to go to heaven.”

The Downtown Macon Rotary Club tried to return a little of that love Friday to Hudson.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.


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