When you visit Natchez you guys have to experience the flavors of Natchez Heritage Cooking by Jarita Frazier- King. Here is Her take on the History of Gumbo and a beginning of a love for Heritage Foods that will follow you for life.
"Before there was a big Easy ... the Big Fort on the Hill existed.... Natchez ,MS... This was the first place , African slaves, Indians, Irish men, French men , Spanish All communed together... Natchez is the first place Gumbo came to life.... Yep that’s what i said...!!!!!
The traditional meal also includes collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. Cornbread, which represents gold, also often accompanies this meal. Gumbo named after one of its two main ingredients, okra or filé. In the Niger–Congo languages spoken by many slaves from West Africa, the vegetable okra was known as ki ngombo or quingombo; the word is akin to the Umbundu ochinggômbo and the Tshiluba chinggômbô "okra". In the language of the native Choctaw people, filé, or ground sassafras leaves, was called kombo... today we say Gumbo... we are the true originators..."