THIS 1997 DRAMA STARRING SAMUEL L. JACKSON, JURNEE SMOLLETT, AND LYNN WHITFIELD WAS MEAGAN GOOD’S FIRST MAJOR FILM ROLE.
On this day 25 years ago, the classic Eve’s Bayou premiered in theaters. Written and directed by Kasi Lemmons in her directorial debut, this movie told the story of Eve Batiste and her family in the prosperous Creole-American community in Louisiana in which they lived during the 1960s. From the outside, the Batiste clan seemed to have it all, but as with most families, they had many, dark secrets.
Featuring Jurnee Smollett in the lead role, the cast included Samuel L. Jackson, Meagan Good, Lynn Whitfield, Diahann Carroll, Lisa Nicole Carson, and Debbi Morgan. During its run, Eve’s Bayou received multiple accolades, including Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, Outstanding Directorial Debut for Lemmons from the National Board of Review Awards, and a Critics’ Choice Award for Smollett in what is considered her breakout role.
Eve’s Bayou grossed $14 million domestically on a budget of $4 million, making it the most commercially successful independent film of 1997. In February of 2008, the film made Time‘s list of the “25 Most Important Films on Race,” and ten years later it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, take a look at the film’s cast then and now.
Eve was a curious 10-year-old girl, living in a prosperous Creole community in Louisiana with her younger brother Poe and her older sister Cisely in the 1960s.
Smollett rose to prominence after Eve’s Bayou, which was her second movie role. Since then, the New York native has appeared in films such as Roll Bounce, The Great Debaters, and Tyler Perry’s Temptation, as well as television programs like Friday Night Lights and True Blood. Last year, she earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for her performance in Lovecraft Country.
Mozelle Batiste Delacroix
Mozelle was Eve’s aunt who works as a Hoodoo Practitioner and has a neighborhood reputation as “The Black Widow.”
Prior to 1997, Morgan was already 20 years into her acting career. The All My Children star played in The Hurricane alongside Denzel Washington, Coach Carter, and most recently, Our Kind of People.
Eve’s father is a well-respected doctor in Louisiana’s “colored” community who claims descent from the French aristocrat who founded the town of Eve’s Bayou.
Samuel L. Jackson
Over the years, Jackson has become one of the most widely recognized entertainers of his generation. As of 2022, he has been listed as the highest-grossing actor of all-time. He has appeared in over 100 films and has achieved countless accolades including an honorary Academy Award.
Eve’s mother and the wife of Dr. Louis Batiste.
This Emmy-winning actress was cast in popular TV shows like Boston Public and How to Get Away With Murder. She also starred in the OWN series Greenleaf as co-lead Lady Mae Greenleaf.
Read more here: ‘Eve’s Bayou’ Turns 25: See The Cast Then And Now