“I started cooking with my grandmother. When I was six, I was on a show called Rosie’s Place on Saturday mornings on Channel 5. I baked with Rosie. Baking has always been a part of my life.
Everyone gets pralines in New Orleans and I hand a vision to bring them to Mobile. In 2017, I started Shelisa’s Pralines. I gave some to my co-workers and they took off. Now I get calls and orders from across the country. My husband, Larry Alfred, helps me a lot.
I also work for WAVE transit and have been driving buses in Mobile for almost ten years. My dad drove the bus and worked for WAVE for 37 years. He retired and then went back part-time. I didn’t think I would follow in his footsteps.
A lot of people in Mobile don’t have transportation. Driving a bus became a ministry and I do whatever I can to help my riders. I collect personal hygiene items for women at McKemie Place, the homeless shelter for women. I listen to their conversations on the bus and they talk to me and tell me their needs. Some need clothes, some need shoes. Before the pandemic started, I went to McKemie Place on my days off and fed them lunch. The first time I fed lunch, chills, ran through my body and I had tears of joy. Everyone there knew me because they saw me daily. The women are so grateful. I don’t just feed them, but I talk with them one on one and ask what they need. During the Christmas holiday, I take the baskets and bags of things they need.
My husband caught the Coronavirus in March and I took care of care of him. Then he gave it to me. It was a horrible feeling that makes you moan. There were nights I was scared to go to sleep. He got better and had to take care of me. My mother brought us groceries and whatever we needed and left them on the porch. Everyone took care of us while we were sick.
I have three graddaughters and one grandson. I love being a grandmother and missed them so much while we were sick. I am going to bring them into the business when they are old enough.
I grew up in the Roger Williams projects and lived there for 21 years. Being a teenager there was hard, but we were family. I always wanted to be successful and have my own business. I loved going shopping downtown with my mom and one day I want to have my own store there.
The Lord has blessed me with a good job, a loving family, and my own business. I couldn’t ask for more, so I have to give back to my community and make life a little better for other women.”