Sno-Balls in NOLA
As the heat index rises, there is only one thing in this city that can cool you off like no other refreshing treat, sno-balls. Oddly enough, you can’t find the type of sno-balls in New Orleans anywhere else. Other places call them sno-cones, and my Yankee husband often likes to tell me the horror tales of sno-cones. When I first met him, he proceeded to tell me how much he hated anything treat involving the usage of ice.
This New Orleanian couldn’t believe it and was blown away by someone not liking such a delicious treat like a sno-ball. He might as well have told me he hated Blue Bell ice cream, because hearing that he hated sno-balls was a complete shocker. He questioned why anyone would eat a hunk of ice with Kool-Aid style syrup on top of it. When I told him that wasn’t a sno-ball and introduced him to a real New Orleans style sno-ball from Casey’s over on West Esplanade, in Metairie, he quickly changed his mind. Since that moment, he’s been a fan of the soft ice texture that melts in your mouth and the cream style flavors they offer.
For me, sno-balls bring back great summertime memories as a child, teenager, and adult. I can remember going to Sal’s sno-ball stand as a kid on Metairie Road and eating my favorite, an ice-cream flavored yellow syrup sno-ball with my father. As a teenager and when in college at Tulane, I remember hitting the Plum Street sno-ball stand for an icy treat and driving over to the “Fly” where some of my friends and I use to hang out and talk by the riverfront. Strangely enough, some of the cheapest and best dates that I ever had were spent enjoying a sno-ball and walking out by the lake. Just thinking about all those times brings a smile to my face. As an adult, I now enjoy taking my 3-year old daughter out to sip on this favorite treat. So far, her favorite flavor is anything with chocolate in it, while I prefer my sno-ball flavor staples of frangelico and cream, amaretto and cream, ice cream, and café au’lait. Needless to say, after going to Casey’s sno-ball stand around 9 o’clock last night, Kylie was on a sugar high till about 12:45 a.m. this morning.
Now only in a place like New Orleans, can a Styrofoam cup of shaved ice and syrup be so special to someone. It can also be a lucrative business opportunity since your profitability is all in the ice. I think for most of us around here, sno-balls fall under the comfort food category like red beans and rice, gumbo, po-boys, and jambalaya. Whenever the neighborhood sno-ball stand opens up, you immediately know that summer will soon be on its way with all the fun activities that follow like swimming and baseball. Sno-balls are just another special part of New Orleans that makes us different from other places. You can’t go just anywhere in our nation and see the Roman Candy Man, a corner grocery store that will sell you liqueur anytime of the day, or a sno-ball stand with a line down the street, except for in our great city of New Orleans. I’m sorry, but I just can’t see sno-balls in Houston being the same and as special as they are down here.
So, what are some of your favorite places to grab a sno-ball around our great city, and are they still around? Write in and tell us some of your favorite sno-ball stories and places to go to.