I can't think of a better way to celebrate Black History Month than to highlight this very talented man. I cannot find much info about him. The only facts I know are the ones stated in this interesting and delightful book. Considering the year this book was published, before the civil rights movement, I would assume that Jesse made his mark on many people in the New Orleans area and had a culinary gift like no other to stir enough attention for this book to be possible. This book was written by a Ballard daughter and her husband.
It is more of a description of how Jesse does things, written while observing and Jesse's tips are clearly quoted. He was the favorite of many elite people visiting New Orleans back in his day, actors, musicians, arch bishops, governors and the like.
Some of the recipes are very similar to what my mother used to cook. His fried chicken technique is one example. Others are things I have never heard of, or will ever have the nerve to try, although, I was exposed to some of these dishes as a child, I never had the nerve to actually taste turtle soup, my mom prepared it once. My dad and brothers liked to hunt so she worked her magic in her kitchen, just like Jesse did in his, less elaborate of course. That is what makes a great cook, versatility.