Lolis Eric Elie

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Lolis Eric Elie
Lolis at Tribeca.png
Lolis at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1963-04-10) April 10, 1963 (age 56)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationWharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (B.S., Finance and Economics, 1985), Columbia University School of Journalism (M.S, 1986), University of Virginia (MFA, Creative Writing, 1991)
OccupationWriter, filmmaker
Notable work
Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, Treme (TV Series), Hell on Wheels

Lolis Eric Elie (born April 10, 1963) is an American writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and food historian best known for his work as story editor of the HBO drama Treme and story editor of AMC's Hell on Wheels.

Early life and education[edit]

Elie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the son of Lolis Edward Elie, a civil rights attorney[1][2] and Dr. Gerri Elie, a school principal and university professor. He has an older sister, Miguel Elizabeth Elie.[3]

Elie is an alumnus of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and a 1981 graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School.[4] He went on to attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1985 with a B.S. in Finance and Economics. In 1986 he received his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, later becoming Alumnus of the Year in 2012.[5] After graduating from Columbia University, Elie went on to receive an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Virginia.[6]


Elie began his career as a business reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He then went on to become the road manager for jazz musician Wynton Marsalis. In 1995 he became a columnist and reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. During this time he wrote several books, including Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country, a book that gained a cult-like following among food enthusiasts.[7] Elie also wrote and produced the award-winning documentary Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival,[8] was a winner at the 2008 San Francisco International Film Festival, and which made its TV debut on PBS in 2009.[9]

After leaving the Times Picayune in 2009, Elie became the story editor for HBO's Treme.[10] He wrote the episodes "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", "Shame, Shame, Shame" and "Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?" for which he won an NAACP Award.[11][12] In 2013, Elie moved to Los Angeles where he became the executive story editor for AMC's Hell on Wheels.[13] His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur,[14] Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Smithsonian magazine[15] and he has been featured on NPR,[16] CBS News,[17] and 60 Minutes.[18] His work is included in Best African American Essays[19] and Best Food Writing: 2008. He is also a contributing editor to the Oxford American.[20]

Elie has been featured several times on Travel Channel's No Reservations[21][22] and The Layover, both hosted by Anthony Bourdain.[23]

Elie is one of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance.[24] On July 23, 2013 his book Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans was released. Saveur named the book as one of the Best July Food Books.[25]


Television and film[edit]

  • 2013 AMC's Hell on Wheels as Story Editor
  • 2013 Soul Food Junkies PBS Independent Lens documentary as Himself
  • 2013 60 Minutes as Himself
  • 2013 Super Bowl 2013 Pregame Special: New Orleans, Let the Good Times Roll as Himself
  • 2010-2013 HBO's Treme as Story Editor
  • 2012 NOLAbound as Narrator
  • 2012 I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say (HBO's Treme, Season 3, Episode 5) as Writer
  • 2011 Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues? (HBO's "Treme", Season 2, Episode 4) as Writer
  • 2011 That's What Lovers Do (HBO's "Treme", Season 2, Episode 10) as Actor
  • 2010 Shame, Shame, Shame (HBO's "Treme", Season 1, Episode 5) as Writer
  • 2008 After Hours with Daniel Boulud as Himself
  • 2008 My 1st Time: Tribeca Film Festival as Himself
  • 2008 Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans as Writer & Producer
  • 2006 By Invitation Only as Project Advisor
  • 2001 Smokestack Lightning: A Day in the Life of Barbecue as Producer


  • 2013 Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans San Francisco: Chronicle Books
  • 2009 Cornbread Nation 2: The United States of Barbecue Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press
  • 2005 Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country Berkeley: Ten Speed Press
  • 2002 Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press


  1. ^ Moorissey, Amalia (January 17, 2010). "Island Visitor Spent His Life in the Civil Rights Movement". St. Croix Source. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  2. ^ Gabrielle Turner. "Life of Lolis Elie". Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  3. ^ Laborde, Errol (2013). Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. p. 195. ISBN 978-1-4556-1764-7.
  4. ^ "Digital Yearbooks". Benjamin Franklin High School. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  5. ^ "Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Four prominent graduates to receive 2012 Alumni Award" (Press release). Columbia University. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  6. ^ New Orleans Magazine Interview with Lolis Eric Elie
  7. ^ "BBQ&A: Lolis Eric Elie, Writer and Filmmaker". BBQ Jew. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  8. ^ Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere
  9. ^ The Untold Story of Black New Orleans
  10. ^ "Lolis Eric Elie on U Look Hungry Radio". 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  11. ^ "Previous Winners - The 44th NAACP Image Awards Show". Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  12. ^ "Former Times-Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie wins award, and other Jazz and Razz". NOLA Media Group. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  13. ^ NFL Network. "'Treme' writer Lolis Eric Elie lands job on AMC's 'Hell on Wheels'". Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  14. ^ Lolis Elie (2013-04-03). "New Orleans". Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  15. ^ Lolis Elie. "Best. Gumbo. Ever". Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  16. ^ Tell Me More (2010-05-03). "HBO Series Focuses On Post-Katrina New Orleans". NPR. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  17. ^ Couric, Katie (2007-08-28). "10 Questions: Life After Katrina". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  18. ^ GDave Walker (2013-01-06). "CBS' '60 Minutes' reports on changes at The Times-Picayune". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  19. ^ Early, Gerald; Kennedy, Randall (2009-12-29). "Best African American Essays 2010". ISBN 9780553806922.
  20. ^ Elie, Lolis (2009-06-11). "ISSUE 64: America's Greatest Hits : Oxford American - The Southern Magazine of Good Writing". Oxford American. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  21. ^ Anthony Bourdain, Lolis Elie. Treme with Lolis Elie (video). The Travel Channel. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  22. ^ Anthony Bourdain, Lolis Elie. Legendary fried chicken. (video). The Travel Channel. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  23. ^ "Calling New Orleans Home". The Layover With Anthony Bourdain. Travel Channel. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  24. ^ "Meet Lolis Eric Elie of Southern Foodways Alliance". Southern Living. 2013-01-13. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  25. ^ "Books Worth Buying: July 2013". 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-08-05.

External links[edit]