On Saturday, Paula Deen made her return to the public eye at the Metro Cooking and Entertainment Show Houston. One Houston resident, who is black, said that "[w]hen I first heard about it, my feeling was, she just got caught. Just about everyone I know has used the word. At least she was honest about it."

This was her first public appearance since late June, when it was learned that she had used a racial slur when describing a wedding her company was catering. Although the charges of racial discrimination were thrown out, she lost lucrative contracts with Home Depot, JCPenney, Kmart, Sears, Target and Walmart. She also lost her cooking show on the Food Network.

"Y'all's hearts are as big as your state," she told the Texas crowd.

Other supporters wore sashes and carried placards. "We wanted to step it up because she's had a rough year," one told Houston's ABC affiliate. "We want her back on TV, and we love her."

The former Food Network star repeatedly broke down during the performance, but insisted "[t]hese are tears of joy, y'all."

Watch video of her performance below.