Long-time cook says goodbye

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2005

Kerry Whipple

The Natchez Democrat

Louverna Minor has cooked for customers from all walks of life and from various places at the Natchez-Adams Airport for the past 35 years.

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Called &uot;LV&uot; by the regulars, Minor makes what some believe is the best burger in town. On a plate with hand-cut, homemade fries, it was a lunch that fed pilots, mechanics and passengers for years.

But Minor is retiring, and Friday was her last day in the small kitchen upstairs at the airport.

&uot;I’m going to miss the customers,&uot; Minor said. &uot;I’m going to miss the people. So many come from different places.&uot;

Minor has seen a lot of changes at the airport, from busy days when Natchez had commercial air service and the lunch counter had even more meals to today, when the hamburger and fries is the staple. Minor said some days she might make 20 to 30 burgers, while on slower days she makes about 10.

&uot;It depends on how the traffic goes,&uot; she said.

Airport workers are regular customers, and Minor has their orders committed to memory.

&uot;She knew exactly what everybody wanted,&uot; Airport Manager Clint Pomeroy said.

Some pilots flew to Natchez just for the burgers.

Even former Gov. Kirk Fordice was a regular customer.

&uot;He said this was the ‘million dollar burger,’&uot; Minor said proudly.

Minor is modest about the popularity of her burgers, which many people have said are the best in town.

&uot;That’s what they always say,&uot; she said with a smile. &uot;I’ve made ’em so long, you know that comes naturally.&uot;

Minor worked alongside her husband Will until he retired. He passed away last year.

&uot;The two of them were always there,&uot; Pomeroy said.

How will she spend her time in retirement?

&uot;I’ve got some small grandchildren,&uot; she said. &uot;They’ll probably take up a good bit of it.&uot;

Altogether, Minor has 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her granddaughter Amanda Rachal was helping out on Friday, as she has done often.

But Minor also has an extended family at the airport, and while they know she’s earned her retirement, they will miss her, Pomeroy said.

When orders were up for the airport workers, Minor called down the stairwell, just as a mother would call her children for dinner.

&uot;They’re going to miss that,&uot; she said.

Pomeroy said Minor has been the airport mother in many ways.

&uot;She’s just kind of part of the family,&uot; Pomeroy said.

Minor stayed busy Friday, as many of her regular customers stopped by for a last burger. Tom Borum, a pilot and flight instructor, brought 10 family members for lunch.

&uot;I’m going to miss her,&uot; he said. &uot;I always kept a line of credit with her so I could always have something to eat, even when I didn’t have any money with me.&uot;

Bruce Harveston ate at the airport even before he came to work there a few months ago.

&uot;Everybody’s going to miss this,&uot; he said. &uot;They’ve got people that fly in from McComb and other places just for the burgers.&uot;

Minor was grateful to stay busy on Friday &045;&045; she didn’t want to think about the fact it was her last day.

&uot;I hate to think about my people,&uot; Minor said. &uot;It makes me sad, and I don’t want to cry on the burgers.&uot;