NEW ORLEANS — Robbin Haley's son Blair calls his mother Tootse, and he loves watching her whip up treats in the kitchen — just like Haley loved watching her Mama Luella make magic in the oven.
"She would always bake things like upside-down cakes, lemon meringue pies, sweet potato pies, bread pudding..." explains Haley.
Eventually, Haley was inspired to start baking too after receiving the ultimate compliment from her mother.
"What really inspired me was when I made hers better than she did. She said, 'Oh, you make your 7up cake better than I do."
By 2012, Haley was so inspired by her mother's recipes that she started a business, Tootse's Treats, and of course, her mother's 7up cake was the first thing on the menu.
Haley was on a roll until Mama Luella passed away in 2018, and Haley didn't have the heart to bake anymore.
"She was the rock of our family, and so with that lost it was just hard. I don't ..it was just very hard," says Haley breaking down.
Then, one day she visited her mother's grave and Mama Luella sent her a message
"I want you to go on," Haley heard her mother say.
And just like that, Haley was back in the kitchen, baking and selling Tootse's Treats. Haley says there is a little bit of Mama Luella's spirit in each bite.
To order Tootse's Treats, check out her Instagram page or call 504.345.8781.