NEW ORLEANS -- Eva Louis Perry, affectionately known around town as "Tee Eva" and the "Praline Queen of New Orleans," has died. She was 83.
Perry grew up on a plantation in Colonie, Louisiana, and got her start in the culinary business in California in the 1980s, catering for celebrities and former California Gov. Jerry Brown.
She returned to New Orleans in 1987 and rented a small Mid-City kitchen, where she used her grandmother's praline recipe to bake pralines and pies that were sold to local businesses.
Perry found her first permanent space in 1991, later moving to Magazine Street in 1994. Tee Eva's Pralines remains on Magazine Street today. Her granddaughter now runs the business.
She was known as much for her pralines as she was for being a Mardi Gras Baby Doll and a backup singer for Ernie K Doe.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell released the following statement in response to Perry's death:
"New Orleans has lost an icon, an inspiration, and a true original with the passing of Tee Eva. Her pralines and sweets were a local treasure, and the Baby Dolls represent the true culture of New Orleans. She was a culinary and cultural legend. A daughter of the city of New Orleans. May she Rest in Peace."