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.
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.