An Albany group plans to move Paula Deen's childhood home, now located on the 1600 block of West Whitney Avenue, to near the Thronateeska Heritage Center on Roosevelt Street, where they hope to turn it into a museum. (July 5, 2013)
ALBANY, Ga. -- It's no secret that Paula Deen, the queen of down-home Southern cooking, has taken a beating recently after admitting she had used the "n-word" in the past.
Despite being dropped from The Food Network and by several major retail chains, plans for making her childhood home in Albany a Paula Deen museum remain ongoing.
"The (museum) board met last Monday and will meet again this Monday, and we are still moving forward," Board President B.J. Fletcher said Friday. "We have been pounded with calls and email since Carlton's (Fletcher, Albany Herald metro editor) story came out and the positive response has been overwhelming
"Jimmy's (Deen, Paula Deen's ex-husband) interview really put a human face on this controversy. You have to remember, this is not just about Paula Deen. It's also about providing an economic boost for Albany."
Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager Rashelle Beasley said the CVB is still firmly behind the proposed museum.
"Obviously this will be an attraction we want to support," Beasley said. "We want to provide all the support available to Paula Deen fans who want to visit her childhood home.
"We are still offering Paul Deen Tours and will continue to provide them to visitors to Albany."
Fletcher said she has been working with Jimmy Deen and others for more than a year to make the museum a reality. Those efforts received a boost recently with the purchase of Paula Deen's Whitney Avenue home with the intent of turning it into a museum.
Preliminary plans involve moving the house to the Thronateeska Heritage Center on Roosevelt Avenue.
"This is all about giving an economic boost to the city of Albany, but we have to get them (visitors) here first," Fletcher said. "The name 'Paula Deen' alone won't pull people off of the Interstate. We have to create an experience to headline our 'staycation' tour of Albany."