Heroes of the New South Awards
From artists to architects, riverkeepers to food advocates, our culture is rooted in and sustained by everyday heroes. We searched the South to find individuals and organizations working to preserve and advance our traditions.
Southern Living salutes the keepers of our culture.
After reviewing hundreds of nominations with our panel of distinguished jurors, we’ve chosen honorees, ages 20 to 93, whose stories inspire us and reflect the rich diversity of the Southern spirit. They are otherwise ordinary folks who have done extraordinary things. They are the 2012 Southern Living Heroes of the New South.
Foodways winner: Richard McCarthy
Determined to bring farmers back to the city, Richard McCarthy set up the Crescent City Farmers Market makes fresh, local food available to all New Orleanians through thrice-weekly markets across the city, with an economic impact of nearly $10 million to the region.
Eco-preservation winner: Sally Bethea
After years of working to curb pollution and rally for more responsible development on the river, Sally Bethea helped found the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy organization that protects the portion of the river stretching 8,770 square miles from the North Georgia mountains to the Florida border.
Architecture winner: The American College of Building Arts
The American College of Building Arts was created to fill a void when, after Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston in 1989, there weren’t enough trained craftspeople to repair the badly damaged historic homes. Today, it's the only four-year liberal arts program in the country where students can earn a college degree by learning traditional craftsmanship and modern building trades.
Arts and Culture winner: Vollis Simpson
As a folk art pioneer, Vollis Simpson has transformed the ordinary machines of Southern life into extraordinary works of art, recognized by The New York Times and documented by PBS. A World War II veteran and former farmer and machinist, he as been lauded by art critics worldwide; his work has been chosen as the symbol of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.