Country Roads Magazine – The Praline Ladies

My article “The Praline Ladies” was recently featured in the December issue of Country Roads Magazine. I really enjoyed writing it and sharing more of my research on these remarkable ladies.

Below is an excerpt. Please follow the link to read the article in its entirety.

As a child growing up in New Orleans, one of the memories I most return to is me, sitting in the kitchen, watching my grandmother make pralines. I can still picture her ladling the creamy mixture onto wax paper. I’d wait patiently as each dollop spread and magically cooled into an edible treat. As an adult, their magic never wavered. 

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Me with Ms. Loretta, of Loretta’s Authentic Pralines AKA the Queen of Pralines

Praline Lady

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many African American women sold goods on the streets of the French Quarter (and throughout the United States) to support themselves. Some were even able to self-purchase their freedom or that of their loved ones. The Praline Lady was a common figure in the Vieux Carre in her gingham dress, tignon and woven basket of goodies. So were the calas cake lady, the blackberry lady, the coffee lady and many more. These women of color were some of the first entrepreneurs in the city. They used their gifts and talents to make a way under difficult circumstances.

Even though the Praline Lady no longer strolls about the French Quarters her legacy lives on as individuals, shops and restaurants continue to make and sell the creamy candy.

New Orleans African American Museum

When you say African-American AND history my interest is immediately peaked. There is a list of things I’d like to do now that I’m back in my hometown and visiting the Nola A.A. museum in historic Treme was tops on my list.

I love these old cottages & all that was missing were the rocking chairs and glasses of sweet iced tea.
Historic cottage

One rainy morning last week my friend and I had a “Girls DAY out” and visited the museum. We did a self-tour of the exhibits and one that really impressed me was of a beautiful bedroom suite made in the 1800’s by a free man of color named Barjon. Barjon gave the suite to his daughter for her 16th birthday and she was said to have kept it until her death. It was absolutely gorgeous. The family ran a successful furniture making business and the pieces were exquisitely crafted. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed but I did sneak a shot next to Marie Laveau, famous voodoo queen.

Aunt Marie taught me my mojo 😉
There are two additional cottages on the property with exhibits open for viewing as well as slave quarters that are not for touring.

After the museum, we had lunch at the famous Lil Dizzy’s cafe located around the corner where I enjoyed a spicy shrimp salad.