Hoda Kotb On Finding Home In New Orleans And Why Life Is All About Showing Up

Hoda Kotb on Biscuits & Jam

Cedric Angeles

About Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb was born in Norman, Oklahoma, raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, and found her real home in New Orleans. Unfortunately, her father passed away while she was in college, which of course took an emotional toll, but the lessons she took from the experience has helped her to move through her life successfully. Before her time covering world events, she spent time as a local news reporter in various markets and, in more recent years, she’s also become an author. In fact, her time working in New Orleans local news led her to fall in love with the town, which recently led to a cover story for the April issue of Southern Living in which Hoda shares the best of her old hometown.

What Hoda Kotb Talks About On This Episode

  • Her love for New Orleans
  • Her best friend Karen Swensen
  • The secret to the best beignet
  • Identifying as a Southerner
  • Living in New York City
  • Visiting her grandmother's house in Egypt
  • Her mother's baklava
  • Celebrating the holidays
  • Attending Virginia Tech
  • Her father's death happening while she was in college
  • Showing up for people
  • Arriving in New Orleans for the first time

Quotes From Hoda Kotb

"My mom's signature baklava may be my favorite thing she makes, because it reminds me of her - it's sweet, it's lovely, it's her language of love. Her language of love has always been food." - Hoda Kotb

"I fell in love in with Virginia Tech the moment I went. My sister went before me, and then I went, and my brother went. We all were like a train going there. And it was secluded in a way... Blacksburg is a tiny little town tucked away in southern Virginia. And I think there was just a  feeling of being away from it all. I really loved everything about it. There was a place called the Cascades where I would go and escape if I needed it. I felt like you were always close to nature and in the middle of it." - Hoda Kotb

"New Orleans has every single story that you could ever imagine. It had incredible stories of rich culture. It had crime stories that I had never heard before. Plot twists that you couldn't make up on a Dateline. It had everything. But more than that, to me, the city was full of soul. And there was an insecurity to the city. 'Do you like us? Do you like it here?' I was like, Who doesn't like it here? Honestly, if someone does not like New Orleans, I probably would not get along with that person, because I don't know how do you not like this city. But I think there was just something magical, and there was a vulnerability that I hadn't seen." - Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Being Southern is a warm hand on my heart. It means that I found a place where I fit. It means that I can slow down. It means that I can be opened. It means that I can hug anybody I want. That's really it. (laughs) People see me coming, I don't know if they like it or not, but you know what, who cares? Here I come!

— Hoda Kotb

"Life's about showing up. Most things in life aren't about what you bring, what you have in your pocket, what present you bring to the party, what you bring to the hospital. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is showing up. Show up for people, and everything will change." - Hoda Kotb

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.Download and listen to this episode of Biscuits & Jam with Hoda Kotb on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or everywhere podcasts are available.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors.

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