Arts & Culture

The Indelible Voice of Julia Reed

Remembering the Garden & Gun contributing editor, who since 2008 crafted some of the magazine’s most popular stories, in her The High and the Low column and beyond

Over more than a decade of contributing columns, features, and profiles to Garden & Gun, the Mississippi writer Julia Reed became a cornerstone of the magazine. On Friday, August 28, our friend and colleague passed away from cancer, a loss that will be felt in our offices, around the South, and beyond, by the many readers and friends she made in her work and travels and adventures—among them the historian Jon Meacham, who remembers her here. She also leaves behind a wealth of words that we were honored to run, including these reader favorites.


Thirty Years of Steel Magnolias

The untold, inside story of a cinematic 
touchstone of Southern culture



In this oral history of the beloved Southern play and film Steel Magnolias, Julia gathered the voices of its creator, her dear friend Robert Harling, and the stars and Louisiana natives who brought the tale of female friendship to life, to create one of the magazine’s most popular stories of all time. 
>> Read the feature

Also see:
>> Reed and Harling’s two-part Whole Hog podcast, with more on their friendship and the film: Part One, Part Two

>> Julia’s Must-See Southern Movies


André Leon Talley’s Deep Southern Roots

A look at the rise of the acclaimed fashion editor from North Carolina



Julia had a knack for crafting intimate profiles. Before she brought her point of view to G&G, she edited and wrote for publications including Newsweek, the New York Times, andVogue. It was there, at the venerable fashion magazine, that Julia and Talley met and bonded over their love of the South. In this illuminating piece, she traces the ground-breaking editor’s path from his grandmother’s house in Durham, North Carolina, to fashion’s front row.
>> Read the feature

Also see:
>> Julia’s Remembrance of Former First Lady Barbara Bush

>> The Art of Living, with the Designer Bunny Williams


Roll of a Lifetime

A photographic adventure on the Mississippi Delta



Julia loved showing off and holding forth on the Mississippi Delta, and especially her hometown, Greenville. Here, she and her friend Jessica Lange, the award-winning actor and photographer, documented the Delta on an unforgettable road trip.  
>> Read the feature and listen to the podcast

Also see:
>> Inside Julia’s Delta Dream Home
>> Julia’s Tribute to the Humble Tamale
>> A Greenville Shindig to Remember
>> Bizarre Foods of the Delta


The Southern Name Game

Making sense of Southern appellations and sobriquets



No Southern tradition—the ones she held dear, or the ones she could do without—escaped Julia’s gimlet eye. Here, she takes on the art of Southern names, including the complications of picking from the family tree.
>> Read the column

Also see:
>> Her Definition of a True Southern Gentleman
>> Forget Bourbon—Make Julia’s a Scotch
>> Grits as a Deadly Weapon


Secrets of a Southern Hostess

The ultimate entertainer shares her tips


Friends near and far knew Julia as the consummate entertainer and hostess, an art she documented in her column and in her books such as Julia Reed’s South and Julia Reed’s New Orleans. Here, in this essay for G&G’s The Southerner’s Handbook, she shared the scoop on how to throw a party to remember.
>> Read the excerpt

Also see:
>> Her Recipe for a Favorite Party Bite: Hot Cheese Olives
>> A Taxidermy-Themed Soiree
>> Lundi Gras Bourbon and Biscuits Recipes 


My Home Is My (Animal) Kingdom

Creepy vermin won’t leave Julia alone



The animals of the South often came under Julia’s microscope, too, whether she was praising the “awesome opossum” or lamenting the wildlife she found in her new Delta home, as documented in this, her last column for Garden & Gun.
>> Read the column

Also see:
>> When Southern Snakes Strike
>> Julia’s Crazy for Catfish
>> Her Dear Friends, the Donkeys


The Art Ambassador

William Dunlap is bold, outspoken, and not afraid to have a good time



Southern art and artists captured Julia’s imagination and permeated her friendships, including the painter William Dunlap, whose talent and joie de vivre Julia catalogued in this profile of her fellow native Mississippian.
>> Read the feature

Also see:
>> John Alexander Takes His Cues from the Natural World
>> David Bates Shakes Free of Convention


I’m with the Band

Why Julia’s heart skipped a beat for musicians



A love of music—and musicians—threaded Julia’s columns, and here she explains why, along with memories of listening to Ringo Starr, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones.
>> Read the column

Also see:
>> Her Ode to James Taylor
>> Julia’s List of the Best Southern Storytelling Songs
>> Try to Beat Her Southern Playlist
>> Julia Untangles “Ode to Billy Joe” on the Whole Hog Podcast

>> See the full archive of Julia Reed’s work for G&G