Eva Louis Perry — also known as Tee Eva and founder of Tee-Eva’s Old Fashioned Pies and Pralines — has died at age 83, reports Todd A. Price at NOLA.com.
Perry opened her Uptown praline and pie shop, Tee-Eva’s, in 1994, after a few years doing catering and supplying her goods to other businesses. (Before that, Perry was a sweets vendor on foot.) The physical shop operates as a destination for NOLA classics like gumbo and jumbalaya, and also boxes up its famous sweets for mail orders. Perry retired from the business in 2000, and her granddaughter now owns the shop.
Perry was reared at the Magnolia housing project and learned to make her sweets from her grandmother. NOLA.com relays some of Perry’s words:
“I’ve lived the life of a sharecropper, I’ve lived in the projects, I’ve tasted the good life,” Mrs. Perry said in 1995. “Sometimes I make my living, pay my bills, sometimes not. But I keep going. I always knew I could be anything I wanted to be, but it takes more than that. You gotta want to be somebody inside.”
Perry was also a large part of reviving a NOLA tradition — she was a member of Ernie K-Doe’s Baby Dolls.