John Gouras left the island of Patmos to come to America with his father in 1921. In this episode, taken from an interview conducted in 1974, Gouras shares some memories of his life and career spent as a Jackson restaurateur. He remembers selling his father’s homemade candy to local businesses in Lake Charles, Louisiana as a teenager and how he and his partner purchased their first eatery, the People’s Café, in Jackson for $800, in 1928. He recalls how they survived the Great Depression and opened their second café, the Mayflower, four years later.
Shortly after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1938, Gouras joined the Army Air Corp and served as a supply officer in the Mediterranean theater. He explains how his restaurant experience was put to use by General William L. Lee.
At the time of the interview, the Mayflower Café had been open for 42 years. It is still in business as of 2018. Gouras describes the Greek community of Jackson as industrious, close-knit, and well-respected. He discusses how they work to keep traditional Greek holidays and customs alive.