Oh, I’m a sno-ball eater. I will eat the sno-ball with condensed milk, and the chocolate ice cream, with vanilla ice-cream, with evaporated milk. I crumble up a fresh-cooked praline and mix it into my sno-ball, and then I’ll put the praline flavor over it. It’s awesome.
Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies
Though she worked in food service for many years in her earlier adulthood, Eva Perry’s professional life didn’t blossom until 1989, when at 55 years old she established Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies. It was while watching the Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme blackening redfish on television that she realized that she, too, had a culture and a talent to market. After all, Eva had learned her trade from a long line of country cooks—while she grew up in New Orleans, both sides of her family were bayou Creoles. Her sweet tooth had been well-established during childhood. Some of her best memories are of her aunt’s lemon icebox pie and bread pudding; of making pralines with just-gathered pecans and brown sugar straight from the mill; and of the frozen icees she purchased for a penny from a Greek-owned store in her neighborhood. Eventually she graduated to sno-balls. When she was a child, that meant a pile of coarse, hand-scraped ice flavored with either strawberry, spearmint, or pineapple syrup. Back then, there were just three flavors. You can find many times that amount today at Tee Eva’s Pralines & Pies, which Eva passed down to her granddaughter, Keonna Thornton Sykes, roughly eight years ago. Don’t be fooled when Eva says she’s retired, though. She’s still making red beans, still shaving ice, and still taking the late shift at the shop most days.
Date of interview: July 8, 2011 Interviewer: Sara Roahen Photographer: Sara Roahen