Roger Stolle of Clarksdale, Mississippi, sent us this sad note today:
Sorry to pass on sad news from Dr. Luther Brown at Delta State:
With great sadness, I report the passing of Joe Pope, owner of The White Front Café in Rosedale, Mississippi, and tamale chef par excellence. Joe was 80 years old. He died of heart failure last Friday, and his funeral will be held this Saturday, December 11, at noon in the Riverside Baptist Church in Rosedale. There will be a wake from 5-7 on Friday at the same church.
The White Front Café is an icon of the Delta. It has been written about in Gourmet Magazine, which described it as “not to be missed.” It is one of just a few Deep South eateries to be listed in the Gourmet Guide to Road Food, and has been applauded by food writers from around the World.
Leslie Kelly, of the Commercial Appeal, wrote on her web log “Took a trip to the Delta on Tuesday for a special dinner …and had the best tamales. Got them at Joe Pope's place, the White Front Cafe inRosedale. Been making those beef and masa tamales for more than 30 years now.” Ms Kelly subsequently returned to Rosedale and wrote a lengthy article in the Commercial Appeal about Delta tamales, featuring several great pictures taken at Joe Pope’s store.
Joe Pope’s death marks the passing of another icon of the Delta, and is mourned by all who knew him, visited his store, or sampled his work.