Coella Jane Lewis was the fifteenth child born to John Wesley Lewis and Jessie Gatlin Lewis, and after a string of sons, the Lewises were overly excited about having the opportunity to name a girl. Thus, Coella Jane’s name is really Innis Ann Coella Mary Flozella Teri Arbella Lemmie Ardimesha Lucindy Jane Lewis. Coella lived most of her life in Orange, and was known throughout the Golden Triangle and the Shankleville Community for her cooking – especially her baking.
My memory – Aunt Coella’s melt-in-your-mouth yeast rolls were legendary within the family. A less well-known (and even better tasting) treat was her Apple Spice cake – a wonderfully, sweet, moist, dark, cake that did not include any water or milk in the recipe. She customarily baked one of these cakes for our family for holidays and any time she’d come to visit us in Beaumont. Since Aunt Coella also dipped snuff, and we didn’t want everyone else in the family in on our good thing, we’d tell people stories about those “Snuff Cakes” that Aunt Coella brought us. Unfortunately, our tale didn’t hold up very long as more and more people actually tasted the cake. Fortunately for us, though, Aunt Coella was a frequent visitor, so we routinely had the benefit of her company and her cake.
–Lareatha H. Clay