Jamie-Lee Breland
Jamie-Lee Breland
Bleeding purple and gold, she's a Louisiana girl with a Mississippi heart.

While 28-year-old Jamie-Lee Williams Breland has lived just a state over all of her life she said her Philadelphia roots run deep when it comes to family and the Fair.

Jamie-Lee has been attending the Fair all of her life. Having family from Neshoba County, it's always felt like home and now she's proud to say it's where she resides.

"I've been going to the Fair since I was 8 or 9 months old. My family has always had a cabin out there so I've been going all of my life. It'll be 28 almost 29 years.

"I was born in New Orleans and my dad is in the oil field business so we lived all along south Louisiana and in Lafayette but every summer, we would pack up and head to the fair for a week," Jamie-Lee said.

The rest of her family is from Philadelphia so she's always felt at home here.

"I've always had friends here growing up that I got to see every year and now that I live here the Fair is so much more fun for me because I get to visit with my family and see my best friends."

The cabin her family originally owned was located along the racetrack. Her father worked in the oil field and was the only one of his siblings to venture off and relocate to the "Big Boot."

His job brought Jamie-Lee and her family all over south Louisiana, then to Baton Rouge and Lafayette later, earning the title of their old cabin the "Mardi Gras."

"The cabin I grew up in used to be along the racetrack and it used to be called the Mardi Gras cabin because me and my mom and dad had been living in Louisiana. But, I feel right at home when I'm there because my dad is the only one who lived in Louisiana out of his brothers and sisters," she said.

Growing up in the two worlds made describing the Neshoba County Fair hard to friends in our neighboring state. Confused about the dust, red clay, and the eight-day cabin camp outs, it left many of her friends scratching their heads and wondering what it's all about.

After showing pictures and sharing stories of long summer nights relaxing with family and friends at the Fair, Jamie-Lee chocked it up to being something you just have to see to believe. The description she gave was it's like Mardi Gras without the parades.

"Every time I would go back to Louisiana I would just show pictures and tell my friends to just trust me and that you have to come. I always describe it as Mardi Gras without the parades. You come to visit and you stay up all night, it's just so much fun. It's hot, sweaty and you'll feel miserable but it's all worth it," she said.

"Trying to explain the Fair to people from Louisiana who have never been while I was growing up was always hard to do."

Jamie-Lee went to LSU and one year she convinced her sorority sisters to come up to the Fair.

"I had to be a sophomore in college or something, they came with me, and now they come every year. I always laugh when I ask them 'how the heck did I get you guys to leave Baton Rouge and come to Philadelphia, Miss to this place, how in the world did I describe it to you,'" she laughed.

After doing some recruiting at LSU, Jamie has turned her Tiger fans into Neshoba fans during Fair time, so much so that there's no distance too far when it comes to reuniting in Philadelphia for a week of fun, family and friends and of course, she always remains a gracious host.

"From Baton Rouge it's a four hour drive to Philadelphia, five from Lafayette, and three from New Orleans so my friends who come love it that much to make the drive. I have friends who are now living in Houston who are coming in so now they are flying instead of driving to come to the Fair, she said.

Edie's Artichoke Casserole 

2 cans (14 ounces) artichoke hearts (drain, keep water)

1 can (3 ounces) Parmesan cheese 

8 ounces olive oil 

1 can (8 ounces) Italian Bread Crumbs (1/4 cpup breadcrumbs set aside)

8 toes crushed garlic 

3/4 cup water from artichoke hearts

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Drain artichoke hearts reserving water.

Mash hearts with fork in large bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients. Place in casserole dish. Top with 14 cup breadcrumbs. Bake covered 30 minutes. Uncovered 10-15 minutes.

Serve as a side dish or with Ritz crackers.

Shirley's Sherry Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 large box of instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup water

3 eggs

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup sherry (cooking or regular)

1/2 cup pecans pieces

Mix together all ingredients (except pecans) with electric mixer, beat for 10 minutes. Oil Bundt pan, sprinkle pecans on bottom of Bundt pan. Pour batter over pecans. Bake for 1 hour. While cake is baking prepare Sherry Glaze below

Sherry Glaze for Cake

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sherry

1 stick of Butter

1/2 cup water

Mix together all ingredients. Boil 10 minutes. Pour 2/3 over bottom of cake while in pan. Invert cake to a plate pour remaining glaze over entire top of cake. (Can add food coloring for different colors or add orange zest)

3. Mr. Clovis' Jambalaya

1 lb. pork sausage

2 med onions chopped

1 bell Pepper chopped

5 toes garlic chopped

1 pound peeled raw shrimp

1 cup raw rice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

4 green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups hot water

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage, remove from pan and set aside. Sauté onions, bell pepper and garlic in sausage drippings. Cook until onions are tender. Add shrimp cook 5 minutes, add sausage, and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until rice is cooked. This recipe can and usually is doubled.

Cajun Corn Maque Choux

6 cups fresh corn

2 cups hopped onion

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut up or canned diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup oil

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1- 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Black Pepper, to taste

Heat oil in black iron pot and add corn, onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Cook on medium high until it starts to bubble. Lower heat to medium and cook for 45 minutes stirring often to prevent sticking. Pepper to taste. Serves six.

Spoon Bread

1 stick of butter (melted)

8 ounces sour cream

2 eggs

1 box of jiffy cornbread

1 can of cream corn

Melt butter in a 9x13 pan. In a separate bowl whip eggs and sour cream together. Add remaining ingredients to egg and sour cream mixtures and stir until moistened. Pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overcook.

Cedar Pines Strawberry Pie

1/4 cup water

1 cup karo syrup

2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoon water

1 quart of fresh strawberries cut into quarters

Mix water, syrup, and extract in small pan and heat to boiling.

Meanwhile, make paste of cornstarch and water; pour into syrup mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat & cool for 30 minutes.

When cool add strawberries, stir carefully & spoon into cooked pastry shell.

Serve with Homemade Whipped Cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Whip cream until stiff peaks are about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar.

Do not over beat cream

Crab A-La- Thelma

1 pound of crab meat (or crab claw meat)

1 onion

1/2 bell pepper (chopped)

1 egg

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons of flour

3 tablespoons cooking oil

Cover bottom of pot with cooking oil; add onions and bell pepper sauté until tender. Add crabmeat. Cook on low for five minutes. Combine milk, egg, and flour in a separate bowl, slowly add the milk mixture to crabmeat in pot. Stir frequently until desired consistency.

Dad's Crawfish Etouffee

2 pounds of crawfish tails

2 sticks butter

1 large onion (chopped)

2 cups of water

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon of Tony Chachere's (or any Cajun Seasoning)

2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon Paprika

1 tablespoon oregano

1/2 cup parsley flakes

Flour to thicken to desired consistency.

2 cups cooked white rice

In a black pot, sauté in butter, garlic, onion, and crawfish until tender. Add two cups of water and cook for 10 minutes. Add all other seasonings and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Slowly add flour to thicken to desired consistency and stir frequently. Serve over cooked white rice.

Parrino Family Shrimp Mirliton Casserole

(Mirliton can be substituted with 3-4 eggplants)

12 medium to large Mirlitons

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons of butter

4 cups finely chopped yellow onions

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

6 medium bay leaves

1/2 cup minced parsley leaves

2 medium green bell peppers

2 lb. peeled boiled shrimp, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

3/4 teaspoon Tabasco

3 tablespoons Worcestershire

2 1/2 cups Italian style fine dry breadcrumbs


3/4 cup Italian style fine dry bread crumbs

1 stick butter cut into thin pats

Boil the Mirlitons whole until they are for tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool then peel skins. Remove and discard the seeds and any stringy pulp. Chop the pulp into small pieces and place in colander to drain. Set aside.

In a seven-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until onions are clear. Stir in drained Mirliton, bay leaves and parsley.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep mixture from sticking. Stir bell peppers into the mixture, and then add the shrimp and mix. Add salt, pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire, mixing well.

Gradually add enough breadcrumbs, about 2 1/2 cups, to absorb all of the liquid. Once done the mixture should be moist but not wet. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove bay leaves from the mixture and transfer mixture to two buttered 9x13 inch casserole dishes.

Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with 3/4 breadcrumbs and dot with pats of butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bake uncovered until the casserole is heated through and the top starts to brown, about 35 minutes.