The Ice Cream Business is Booming

Economics are strange down here post-Katrina. The tourism sector has all but dried up for now, and aside from construction/real-estate/recovery related business, it seems we have two thriving industries in New Orleans right now. I am talking, of course, about car washes and ice cream men.

Up and down the finer avenues of our city, such as Louisiana, Tulane, Washington, and St. Claude, you will see entrepreneurs engaged in the age-old trade of car-washery. The low start-up costs and availability of vacant real estate make this a particularly appealing option in today’s business market. The bumper crop of dirt and pollen that New Orleans supplies means an endless pool of customers. Car washes are definitely the cornerstone of our economy.

But with the onset of spring, a new industry has begun to thrive: ice cream.

Before Katrina, we had an ice cream man in my neighborhood. He was your general, by-the-book ice cream merchant, meaning that even though he didn’t own a traditional iced-cream truck, there was still a “good humor” logo on the top and a large sign displaying the menu on the side. The speaker atop the conversion van played the street anthem of New Orleans, which begins with a wretched female “HELLO!” followed by approximately 43 seconds of circus themey music, plus synthesised hand-claps. You can listen to it here.

I always found this to be a rather charming distraction. But lately, it seems that no less than four iced-cream men are peddling their wares in my neighborhood. This happens from about 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and their modus operandi have become continually more curious. Last year, we had one guy going around in a grey van, blasting the ice cream anthem, presumably selling ice cream. Now, there is an all white van with NO WINDOWS riding around playing the ice cream theme… and this evening, the coup de grace. A box truck, such as an old Penske moving van, painted blue, blasting a COMPLETELY NEW ICE CREAM SONG. The song had the same theme of hand claps and whimsical circus-like music, but instead of sports whistle and car horn sound effects, there was the sounds of DUCKS-A-QUACKING and TURKEYS-A-GOBBLING. I’m not kidding. I don’t want to start rumors or anything, but I am willing to guess that ice cream may not actually not be his primary source of revenue.

Anyway, I found this particularly fascinating and will share any further news on this front. Life is exciting down here as we move from a tourism and service-based economy to a car wash and ice cream based economy. Also, I ate crawfish today in lieu of working, so nyah.

9 Comments so far

  1. Karen (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

    HELLO….

    Thanks for that.


  2. Paulp (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

    The Ice Cream Vendors Union has dispanded in the New Orleans area which has allowed a sort of “Every man for himself” type of situation. It’s not uncommon for a mad scramble for business. The different vans are a sign of different vendors vying for the best turf now that there is no governing body to regulate sales. Ernie K-Doe’s family actually owns a small fleet of Ice Cream trucks. My uncle was a regional team leader for the Union in the fifties. You can find more information here:

    http://data1.blog.de/blog/p/plasticine/img/8988.jpg


  3. Jack Ware (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 8:07 am

    Have you also noticed the onslaught of ice cream shops opening up. There’s a new one on magazine near St. Andrew and another one about to open on Freret – and that’s just off the top of my head.

    Weird thing is, I heard the one on Freret was originally going to be a coffee shop/Internet Cafe, which I was a big fan of, but now it appears it’s going to be an ice cream shop. I guess store front property on Freret is cheaper than a truck when you factor in gas….lol


  4. ravi (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    its a great site.have this kind of another site.go to my site and get more information.
    http://www.thrivenowblog.com/


  5. Dan F (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

    Walking home down Decatur the other day I came upon two young kids selling lemonade. It was rather warm so I had TWO glasses. Cost me a whole dollar. I thought of PaulP


  6. what happened to Pac Man ice cream? (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

    So, Ernie K. Doe is the Emperor of Ice Cream. A Stevens mystery solved!


  7. Paulp (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

    Two glasses? Where is that lemonade stand? I will be sure to check their vending permits before my purchase. The state might want to get it’s share of the revenues. If in fact you spent one dollar, I believe they already owe the state 4 cents. My cousin’s mailman was room mates with Marcia Ball’s accountant for the state. I will be sure to alert him.


  8. Paulp (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

    Maybe it was Marcia Ball’s room mate who was a mailman, I’m not sure.


  9. Kevin Mitchel Kolb of New Orleans Louisiana (unregistered) on March 22nd, 2007 @ 8:12 am

    Don’t forget Joey K’s new neighbor: http://www.ladivinagelateria.com

    Dark Chocolate/Cayenne, I gotta try that one.

    -and the new sweet/ice cream shop called ‘Sucre’ that’s opening soon in the same block.

    Hello!



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