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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Ya-Ka-Mein in New Orleans


Maurice Haynes

Magazine Deli Snowball & Ice Cream

For Maurice Haynes, Magazine Deli Snowball & Ice Cream is the realization of a longtime goal. He opened it in 2009, after working for 20 years as a schoolteacher. Cooking and street vending were side projects during his lengthy career in education. At one time he owned three pink ice cream trucks. He would park one of them outside the elementary school where he taught when classes let out in the afternoon.

Then, for three years while teaching, he also ran the Rock Bottom Lounge, a popular meeting spot for second lines. Outside the bar, the sidewalk on Tchoupitoulas Street often became his kitchen. There he made and sold ya-ka-mein, boiled seafood, po-boys, and whatever else struck his fancy.

At first glance, Magazine Deli appears to be just another sno-ball shop in a shed. But a closer look at the menu posted to its façade reveals stronger culinary ambitions: ya-ka-mein, barbecue shrimp nachos, hot tamales, crawfish pies, and smoked sausage sandwiches. The food is not complicated. It is New Orleans comfort food.

But each item means something to Maurice, draws from his own culinary narrative and that of his hometown. Sno-ball syrups sourced from SnoWizard are the same he enjoyed while growing up in the neighborhood. He uses linguine noodles in his ya-ka-mein, just like his grandmother did. Beef hot tamales from Old Style Hot Tamales are as close as you can find to the Manuel’s Hot Tamales his customers miss. And in the fall months he dips cherry-red candy apples just like the ones he grew up eating.

Date of interview:

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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