Affectionately known as Yaya, Laurelle Richards is the eldest of her nine siblings born in St. Martin. Richards obtained a sewing diploma from Clara Mingo. Laurelle Richards left school aged 16, to help her parents raise her brothers and sisters. She put her sewing skills into practice and would often make her family’s clothes.
In 1990, Laurelle Richards founded the Cultural Women Association of Rambaud-St. Louis. She used this to help teach people about the traditional styles of cooking. Richards educated the nation about carnival costumes, home-grown herbs, provisions and fruit as well as folk. Schools and cultural organisations often invited Laurelle Richards to talk and exhibit about these topics.