Amy's Sweet Nola


Amy's Sweet Nola




Amy Muhammad who was born and raised in New Orleans now living in Chicago running a New Orleans style cafe alongside her husband. This is her story.


Co-founder of Akhirah's Praline and Candy, Amy Muhammad recalls her time growing up in New Orleans, facing racism and colorism, and opening a New Orleans style coffee shop in Chicago with her husband.


Hadiah Muhammad


My Nola My Story via Youtube


Mass Communication Department at Xavier University of Louisiana


April 27, 2018


Amy Muhammad


My Nola, My Story.


My Nola, My Story 2018 Exhibit







A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format


Amy Muhammad (intro): Amy Muhammad, born and raised in New Orleans, grew up in Pontchartrain Park, one of the black first subdivisions in New Orleans, for so-called middle class.
Hmm, went to elementary school in the neighborhood, went to McDonogh 35, which, is a college prep that a lot of blacks went to. My mother went there, my brother, nephews, and nieces. That' about it.

Hadiah: Okay, what was your experience growing up in New Orleans if you could recall?

Amy Muhammad: Such as...

Hadiah: (laughs) like, what were things that you did, enjoyed about it? Just moments of childhood that you remember in New Orleans.

Amy Muhammad: Umm, well, I stayed very close to Lake Pontchartrain, walking distance, 5 minutes away so we used to walk to the lake and go swimming... or play in the water cause I didn't really swim, my brothers tried to teach me how to swim cause they were lifeguards there.

Hadiah: Uhuh

Amy Muhammad: Ummm, cause that was a hangout at the time. The other thing we used to do growing up was uh, we would have crawfish and crab boils. Or we would go to the local seafood shop and just buy big, they would do like sacks of crawfish and you take them home and you be in your backyard on the table, throw some newspaper down, dump it on the newspaper, and just sit there and eat the crawfish or the crab. Grown folks would drink beer, children would have soft drinks as their drink.

Hadiah: Using 3 words how would you describe New Orleans? How would you describe home?

Amy Muhammad: New Orleans, (pauses) for the most part, I'd say the people are genuine, friendly, umm you kinda got the best of both worlds. You got a kind of a big city, metropolitan feel, but it was small enough that it wasn't too big where people were cold. You know where you walk down the street, you didn't have to know anybody you could always speak to somebody where ever you go, which was a big difference when I got here to Chicago. We speak down south.

Hadiah: (laughs) umm a question that I just had was, did you experience racism while living in New Orleans?

Amy Muhammad: You know what? I did, and my brothers did more so than me because the age that they went to high school, they integrated, my two older brothers integrated a high school, and they were getting into trouble for no reason, having fights. I didn't experience that because the high school that I went to, like I said was a black high school, but it was well known.

I can remember in grade school, I think 6th grade I experienced racism because we happened to have a white teacher. For whatever reason, she would never..I would raise my hand she would never call on me, but she would call on the lighter skinned girls. That's a big thing in New Orleans, light-skinned complexion.

Hadiah: Colorism.

Amy Muhammad: And I did experience some in Junior High, that was a mixed high school, but not like my older brothers. I did experience more of that that when I was grown, not so much for my age. It was Junior High, not High School, the high school was pretty much all black. I think not until I went to college, and I went to LSU for a few years, I can say I experienced it there but not like my brothers.

Hadiah: So, how often do you visit home, and what is a few staple items that you have to get when you go to New Orleans?

Amy Muhammad: You want me to tell my business? Ummm, once or twice a year. Usually around Thanksgiving, not that I really celebrate thanksgiving but it is an opportunity, where a lot of my family, they make it a time that they come together to see everybody so... Nieces and nephews whatever they, if they not living in New Orleans they will travel there for Thanksgiving. So it's like a mini family reunion with more immediate family members, we just have a really good time. Staple items? Ummm that would be certain spices, like fresh bay leaves from my nephew's tree. Ummm I don't know what I take back, but when I go there one of things I wanna do that I can't get here is like snowballs and po'boy sandwiches. Those are the 2 main things.

Hadiah: Okay... So about the cafe, what made you open a New Orleans style cafe in Chicago?

Amy Muhammad: Wasn't me, it was my husband Arron, it was his idea. and I'm, I am the cafe where candy is my recipe, the beignets is my recipe, and I give the cafe legitimacy about being authentic since I'm from there.

Hadiah: (laughs) So do you know what made him want to open a New Orleans style cafe?

Amy Muhammad: Well one time when we were down there, we were in the French Quarter walking past Cafe Du Monde and he saw the line, it was like down the block almost around the corner, and I guess he was like dang they waiting like this... And anytime you go there it's 24/7there's always people that be out there. So I guess he was like we could bring it up here. It was really like, that was his idea.

Hadiah: So, do you know what elements of New Orleans culture that he mainly wanted to incorporate in the cafe?

Amy Muhammad: Well the beignets, which is food and then Ummm, you have the music, we actually have music playing you can't hear it now it's not loud enough. The music the food and as you see there is a lot of beads and stuff, the Mardi Gras theme. So those were the main things.

Hadiah: And the last question that I have, do you get a sense of content or relief while making the pralines or the beignets?

Amy Muhammad: Yes! Cooking in general, yeah, yes ma'am I do.

Hadiah: Are there any last comments you would like to say? Well, actually I had another question. So, about, what advice would you give to a student coming to New Orleans for the first time for school?

Amy Muhammad: They need to stay focused cause it easy to get distracted in New Orleans because it is a "party city", but that's gonna always be there. Enjoy what you can in I'll say righteousness and not get too crazy cause New Orleans will let you get crazy beyond I would say which is respectable, don't get lost in that. Enjoy the food, enjoy the people, enjoy the weather when it's not so humid.

Hadiah: And that's it!

Amy Muhammad: That's it!

Outro: Music


9:43 (nine minutes, forty-three seconds)


Hadiah Muhammad


Dr. Shearon Roberts


Date Added
April 19, 2018
Nola Life
Item Type
Moving Image
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Hadiah Muhammad, “Amy's Sweet Nola,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed July 20, 2024,