This Eater story is pretty good, but could use a little more context outside of the French Quarter tourist angle. Still, I am so very glad that Knapp included Rien Fertel’s analysis and research.
As a past farmers market organizer, I can tell you that the praline biz extends past the Quarter to thousands of locals who search for a particular variety that they grew up with: some look for a creamy taste, others want lots of chopped nuts and others need the sugar-free type. Most New Orleanians expect to find middle-aged African-American women as the chef behind the treat, although the Crescent City Farmers Market has most recently had genial Wayne Brown and his momma’s Crescent Creams pralines along with his of the old-timey “Nipples of Venus” concoction. Other vendors of pralines at CCFM include or have included the (white) family member of market fishing family Gerica Seafood who makes some tasty sweet treats based on a hundred-year old recipe from Raceland, and school bus driver Betty Walker who hails from New Orleans East, which remains one area of town where the homemade candies can be found on counters of all types of stores.
Additionally, the dozens of varieties sold only through churches or a daughter’s office to this day also show the resilience and creativity of this local cottage industry.
Check out this wonderful piece that covers the “mammy” stuff that Rien alludes to; that crap certainly has denigrated the art of praline making which should be deeply respected and widely encouraged.