Door Always Open with Austin’s Nubian Queen
By Yimou Lee
By whatever name people call her, Lola Stephens-Bell, often referred to by her patrons as the “Nubian Queen,” owns Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Kitchen – a restaurant on the corner of Rosewood and Chicon in East Austin.
Once homeless and jobless, Stephens-Bell’s mission is to help those in need.
Her spirit, along with her Cajun cuisine, makes the restaurant popular among Austinites. Stephens-Bell serves as the Cajun Kitchen’s host, waitress, cook and busgirl. While busy ordering meals and making her famous Cajun Gumbos, she treats the homeless from her back door with hot Cajun Chicken Soup.
Stephens-Bell said she draws her strength to overcome adversity from her husband, who is currently serving a life sentence at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Hughes Unit for murder. The couple met after the murder when she was featured in a local newspaper that made its way to the corrections unit. The two married by-proxy two years ago.
“He will come home,” Stephens-Bell said. “I will be right here, right here waiting.”
Until then, the “Nubian Queen” will keep taking care of her four daughters, three of whom are adopted, running her restaurant, and helping the lives of those less fortunate.