Snowballs in SNOLA

Where will your last snowball of the season come from?

Even though New Orleans is not known for having snowy weather, it is nice to have our own form of snow in a delicious treat. “Snowballs are a unique New Orleans treat that teens and adults alike can enjoy together. It is just another thing that makes our city so special,” says Gloria Lastra. Snowball season runs from March to October yearly, so it’s almost time to say goodbye until next year. Which snowball place is your favorite? Where will you be going to get the last snowball of the warm weather season? Echoes polled Mount Carmel students out of a list of four select snowball places: Hansen’s, Casey’s, Plum Street, and Sal’s. Out of all these wonderful places there seemed to be a clear victor, but before the big winner is revealed, why don’t we dive into the history of these popular snowball locations?

First, let’s dive into the well-known and well-loved Hansen’s Snowballs. This snow-biz first started during the Great Depression on a hot, summer day. Ernest Hansen, a master machinist, and his son were sitting outside trying to find relief from the New Orleans summer. After a snowball cart passed in front of the father and son, it sparked an urge in the elder Hansen to create a snowball machine with a better sanitation system, since the original carts featured ice blocks chipped by hand. Eventually this idea led to the development of what we know today as Hansen’s Sno-Bliz Stand. Ernest’s wife started making her own original line of syrups and in 1939, the very first Hansen’s snowball was sold (for only two cents)! According to Mount Carmel student Alyssa Fortier, “Hansen’s makes the superior snowball, hands down…The ice is like freshly fallen snow and every flavor is homemade.”

The next snowball stand to de-ice is Casey’s Snowballs. This small but memorable snowball stand is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it family friendly and a long-lasting business but it has snowballs that melt in your mouth. This snowball stand started in Austin, Texas in 1996. It was founded by two women named Suzy Casey Gallagher and Kit Thompson. Today they are well known for their chocolate and cream syrups. They have seventy flavors made with simple syrup that is cooked by the staff themselves. Another gem that Casey’s has are their monsoons. Shelly Sevin, a lover of these monsoons, says, “I personally prefer Casey’s because they give you really big sizes and they have these milkshakes called monsoons that are like heaven.” Just how people see it as fit for perfect family outings, so does the staff. According to the two owners, “a snowball can be the difference between a person having a good day and a great day, or a person having a bad day and a good day.”

Next, we have Plum Street, which surprises customers when they receive a take-out box that contains a refreshing snowball instead of food. The original owner was Sydney Williams who opened Plum Street in 1945; it is presently owned by Claude Black, whose father bought Williams’ Plum Street Snowballs for his son back in 1979. Today most of the original structure of the building is still intact. For example, the rack that holds the snowball syrups is part of the original model as well as the metal shelving. So, next time you’re in the mood for take-out and something sweet, why not go to Plum Street?

Which is your favorite snowball stand?

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The last snowball stand is Sal’s Sno-Balls on Metairie Road. Sal’s opened in 1959 by a man named “Mr. Sal” Talluto. Eventually a long-time worker by the name of Steven Bel, who had worked at Sal’s from a young age, bought the stand. This place became even more popular right after Katrina. During the post-Katrina era, the employees of Sal’s shaved about 1,000 pounds of ice daily; today the owner drives every other day to get 300 pounds of fresh ice! They even have their own original flavors like the Joker, Sock-it-To-Me and Crème de Menthe.

Now to reveal which stand wins the title of best snowball place, according to Mount Carmel’s students: Sal’s! It seems that this hardworking snowball stand has earned the love of local people everywhere. In terms of flavors some favorites were Dreamsicle, Pink Lemonade, and Nectar! But, of course that’s for you to judge on your own. Even though Sal’s seems to be the favorite among Mount Carmel students, there is no doubt that each of the snowball places have their own special qualities and treasures.