MACON, Ga. — Friday, Central Georgia came together to honor a Macon legend: 'Mama Louise' Hudson.
She ran the H & H Soul Food Restaurant for years with Inez Hill. Mama Louise became a mother figure to the Allman Brothers Band, and fed them often before their big break. Her family says all were welcome in her kitchen.
There was story, after story, after story of Mama Louise's kindness and warmth Friday at her wake. Her family says they were blessed to have her as long as they did: 93 years.
There was also music and prayer, just as Mama Louise would have wanted.
"We're having church tomorrow," said her nephew, Norman Carter, when he had the microphone. "Thank you God for faith, fellowship and family."
All three of those values were shown in the countless stories of Mama Louise's life and legacy.
"Matriarch to rock stars when they were hungry and broke. Hippies, bankers, plumbers, ditch diggers, movers, shakers, doctors, mechanics, carpenters," listed John Griffin from a poem he wrote on Mama Louise.
They were all examples of the lives Mama Louise touched in her restaurant. Her family and friends say it didn't matter who you were. All were welcome at Mama Louise's table.
"We used to go down there and clean the tables off. I always wanted to go because we would eat," said Margaret Tuff-Davis. "I didn't worry about no tips or nothing, I worried about that food! But Mama Louise and her whole family embraced us."
Not all the stories centered on food. One of the most heartwarming ones came from Carter.
"I would sit at her feet. She would just pat, and rub," Carter said.
They'd spend hours like that on family holidays like New Years.
"I don't care what was going on. I don't care how bad or how good it was. My life became centered down. And my core came from here," Carter said.
Inside the funeral home, next to Mama Louise's casket, was a testament to the kindness, love and warmth she put out into the world every single day. It was a big flower arrangement in the shape of a heart, and it's surely a symbol of the big heart she had Central Georgia will sorely miss.
Mama Louise's funeral is Saturday at noon at Macedonia Church on Eisenhower Parkway. Her nephew, Norman, will preside. He says it will be a joyous celebration of life, just like Mama Louise would have wanted.