Mama Seabell Thomas Silver Moon Cafe owner

Mama Seabell begins cancer treatment; plans new Silver Moon Café cookbook

BATON ROUGE, La. – Mama Seabell Thomas is a warrior. 

The 80-year-old chef and longtime proprietor of the legendary Silver Moon Cafe recently completed five rounds of radiation and began the first of four chemotherapy treatments on Tuesday. 

Thomas was diagnosed in late 2023 with Stage 4 uterine cancer and underwent two major surgeries. As she’s known to the thousands who’ve dined at her restaurants or the hungry she’s fed from her kitchen in North Baton Rouge, Mama is bravely facing her health battle. 

“We’re just trying to keep her spirits high while she finishes chemo,” daughter Sonjya Thomas told UWK. “She’s 80 years old, and the chemo takes a lot out of her. Hearing from her ‘babies’ and knowing they’re keeping her in prayer would mean the world to her.”

Mama has been drinking lavender and chamomile tea to calm her stomach and she’s been supplementing her cancer treaments with some natural teas and vitamins. 

Sonyja says her mother isn’t cooking these days and doesn’t have a big appetite due to chemo. However, she gathered recipes for a new cookbook before her diagnosis and treatment. 

“She plans to include some recipes in the new cookbook that were not in her first one,” Sonyja said. 

  • Mama Seabell Thomas
  • Mama Seabell Thomas and Charles Raulerson

For nearly four decades, Mama served her Louisiana soul food to thousands of people at the Silver Moon Cafe. Located near the LSU campus and Downtown Baton Rouge, she fed everyone from students, athletes, coaches, faculty, and staff to government workers, elected officials, and media personalities. 

In 2007, after a fire destroyed her restaurant in St. Gabriel, Mama decided it was time to retire. Her “retirement” was short-lived and Mama started using her social security checks to cook and feed the homeless and hungry in North Baton Rouge. 

When her health began to suffer, Mama partnered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Baton Rouge. Together, they fed 1,000 people a week with the help of 24 volunteers.

Sonyja says her mother misses her ‘babies’ dearly. A few former LSU students visited before she started radiation, and another called her this weekend. 

Mama would love to hear from you. You can leave her a message on Mama’s Silver Moon Facebook page that her daughter Sonyja checks regularly and reads to her mother. 

Family and friends have also set up a GoFundMe for those who would like to donate to help Mama Seabell cover medical expenses and treatments not covered by insurance. 

“I love every one of my babies, the joy that I had, feeding them and loving them,” Mama said a few weeks ago. “I will be back. I’ll never give up, and I will always have a meal on the table for them, but I need them right now to pray for me and be there to support me.”

Mama believes in the power of prayer and is leaning heavily on her faith. She told her daughter she looks forward to getting past this latest hurdle and reconnecting with her “babies.” In January, Mama told UWK she had always known she was born to serve others, but she is not done yet.

“I’m not going anywhere because I’m not finished doing what I feel God put me here to do,” Mama said.

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