Paula Hiers




Class of 1965

Paula's road to success was not easy. After an incident in which she was held at gunpoint during a bank robbery in Albany GA, Paula avoided going out herself, suffering from agoraphobia, a fear of public places. Paula believes this fear comes from .

Her grandmother Irene Paul had taught her the hand-me-down art of Southern cooking; and one of the only places she felt safe was at her own stove, making thousands of pots of chicken and dumplings.  She was considered a good Southern cook, so she started a small catering company after moving from Albany to Savannah GA ... called The Bag Lady. She made sandwiches and other meals, then her sons would deliver the food. 

The Bag Lady in-home business was very successful, and she soon outgrew her kitchen.  She moved her catering company to a small restaurant at a Best Western motel in Savannah, and became so popular, she finally opened, with sons Bobby and Jamie, her first restaurant five years later ... The Lady and Sons, in downtown Savannah.

The restaurant was a hit and the popularity of Paula and her cooking led to her first cookbook, 1998's The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. This gave her fans the opportunity to try Paula's recipes at home, and led to her first television appearance on QVC. 

Paula's genuine warmth and folksy personality made her a natural for television.

In 2011, Paula Deen Foods was launched and beginning in 2013, featured food products based on her traditional recipes and lighter versions as well. These products were developed in Paula's kitchen,  and "Paula's Pantry's" will be in retailers across the country.

Along with The Lady & Sons, Paula is the author of 14 cookbooks that have sold more than 8,000,000 copies, and her bimonthly magazine Cooking with Paula Deen, has a circulation of nearly 1,000,000 today!

Ever grateful for all she has been blessed with, Paula and her family continue to give back to the community. Paula is a member of the board of the Bethesda Home for Boys, works tirelessly for America's Second Harvest and in 2012, launched The Bag Lady Foundation, supporting issues of hunger which effect women and families across the country.



Savannah, Georgia

Paula's landmark restaurant, The Lady & Sons, had its humble beginnings back in June 1989 when Paula started The Bag Lady out of her home. Since then, it has grown into a world-renowned restaurant and full service catering venue. In December 1999, The Lady & Sons was named "International Meal of the Year" by USA Today. Today, the restaurant seats nearly 330 people and serves thousands of tourists and locals each week. If you're looking for a true taste of the South, look no further than The Lady & Sons!




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On March 6, 2004,Tommy and  Betty Holt Pattison attended the wedding reception of Paula Heirs Dean and Captain Michael Anthony Groover, where Betty took the above photo.  Paula still says at the beginning of her food show ... 

"Hey y'all ... I'm Paula Deen!!!"

You may visit her website


Southern Living Magazine

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Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

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