Like a lot of kids growing up in these parts, I spent many New Orleans summers, and hard-earned money from chores, at my neighborhood snoball stands. As the years passed, I remained devoted to those same snoball stands and flavors, rarely venturing to different parts of the city to see what other snoball suppliers had to offer. But closed-mindedness is not what New Orleans is all about. So, with a ten in my hand and a gleam in my eye, I set out to try some unexpected flavors from stands a little further from where I call home. What I discovered was sweet, icy, and well worth the drive. Get out your dollar dollar bills, y’all. It’s time to widen your snoball scope.
Piety Street Snoballs – Located in the booming Bywater neighborhood, this snoball stand has flavors like Bananas Foster, Lemon Basil, Candied Ginger and Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Owners Eugenia Uhl, New Orleans photographer, and husband Dave Rebeck, founding member of popular local band the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, make many of their own syrups and juices from fresh fruit and citrus (growing on their trees outside!) and use high quality chocolate. And unlike many stands, this artsy snoball stop is open all year long.
Sal’s Snoballs - Catering to folks young and old, this Old Metairie snoball stand is quite the neighborhood hot spot. Their menu boasts a number of unique flavors with creative names like “Pink Squirrel,” a delightful combination of almond and nectar cream, “Sock It To Me,” made with bubble gum and ice cream flavors, and the ever-popular “Joker,” a trifecta of grape, raspberry and blackberry syrups. I tried the Orchid Vanilla with condensed milk and got lost in the deeply sweet, creamy and floral yummy-ness of this icy treat. Need a caffeine boost? Sal’s uses fresh cold drip coffee and sugar to make their coffee syrup. Top with condensed milk and you’ve got the snoball version of Cafe Sua Da, or Vietnamese iced coffee.
Lou-Lou’s - This family owned snoball stand has two locations in Metairie, one on Papworth off of Veterans Memorial Boulevard and another on Johnson Street. The Papworth location has a covered area with picnic tables so sno-goers can enjoy their icy treat in the shade. Pistachio, Pralines and Cream, and Spumoni are some flavors unique to Lou-Lou’s but my personal favorite was the “Groom’s Cake,” a delicious pairing of wedding cake cream and chocolate cream that I made even more decadent with the addition of whipped cream and colorful kid-friendly sprinkles.
Ro-Bear’s Snoballs - Take the drive down Jefferson Highway for some sno from a place that’s been serving the fine people of Harahan since 1966. Cantaloupe and chocolate are some favorites but, since I wanted to try their special flavors, I went for half “Blue Hawaii,” a combination of bubble gum, coconut, and cream, and half Creole Cream Cheese. The deeply sweet bubble gum and coconut worked in complete harmony together, and who wouldn’t love a Smurf-blue snoball? The Creole Cream Cheese was more my style, however, with a rich, slightly tangy creaminess that many Louisianians grew up on. Next time you’re getting your shop on at Elmwood, drive a few extra minutes and pay this sweet little stand a visit.