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Snowballs

Snowballs

By Marcella Escarfuller

Click aqui para español- > Snowballs

Winding up for summer in New Orleans can be tough. Hurricane prep is no joke and finding ways to beat the heat often leaves locals coming up empty. But there is one thing about summer in New Orleans that every local looks forward to – snowballs.

Snowballs have been a New Orleans tradition since the 1930s. Not to be confused with the snow-cone, with its crunchy texture and sink-to-the-bottom syrup, the New Orleans snowball (or snoball) is made of perfectly fluffy shaved ice that absorbs every drop of syrup, creating the perfect summer treat. And when it comes to the syrup, picking your flavor is a game unto itself. Ranging from New Orleans favorites like bananas Foster and praline pecan, to fruity tangerine and cherry, to downright weird (buttered popcorn), there’s always a flavor for every taste.

Especially when you add that extra touch of condensed milk to top it off. It should come as no surprise that it’s thanks to the innovation of locals that we get to enjoy this New Orleans summer staple. When the SnoWizard ice shaving machine was invented in 1936, the effects of the Great Depression were still sending shock waves through businesses around the country.

George Ortolano, a New Orleans grocer of Sicilian descent, was looking for new ways to drum up business during the economic downturn. He invented a machine originally made from wood and started selling shaved ice to customers in his store. Shortly thereafter, he got requests from small-business owners to make similar machines for their snowball stands.

Demand was so high that Ortolano left the grocery business, created a metal-based machine now termed the “SnoWizard,” and dedicated all of his energies to automating the production of his invention. In 1934, Ernest Hansen was already in the process of inventing his own snowball machine. Previously made by handscraping blocks of ice, Hansen dreamed of a more efficient and sanitary way to make the refreshing summer sweets. He succeeded in developing his invention and kept it within the family until opening his own snowball stand in 1939. By 1944, Hansen had opened Hansen’s Sno-Bliz snowball stand in their current location on Tchoupitoulas.

Thanks to these machines, snowballs have become the New Orleanians’ favorite way to cool down during the summer months. Everyone has their favorite snowball stand, whether it’s Hansen’s or Plum Street Snowballs or SNO-LA (home of the original cheesecake filled snowball), we just can’t seem to get enough.

The one-time locals don’t mind standing in the suffocating humidity and

sweltering heat is when they’re standing in line for their snowballs. By the time you have that icy goodness in-hand, your clothes feel sticky and your head starts spinning, but who cares? The delirium makes your snowball taste that much sweeter.

 

 

Marcella Escarfuller

Writer/Escritora

Food

Louisiana / New Orleans

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Publisher's Note

It’s been one year since we launched VIVA NOLA Magazine. Time does fly when you’re having fun!

The community support for our independent magazine has been amazing. Being able to connect

communities is what drives our team every month to create original content that can be enjoyed by all those who share the love for our wonderful city, for Latin America and its cultures,and for everything that makes our community so special.

We have been fortunate to have met so many interesting people during our inaugural year. It’s been our honor and privilege to be able to expand our reach and to learn the stories of so many wonderful individuals. We enjoy learning from peoples’ stories and finding common ground in their varying experiences stemming from so many different walks of life.

VIVA NOLA goes beyond being just a magazine. We are a multimedia platform that connects communities through your stories, city-wide events, and the support of impactful

initiatives that take place all over the Greater New Orleans region. I’m thankful for this year and look forward to strengthening our VIVA NOLA community in the many years to come!

We value your support and look forward to continuing engaging in meaningful conversations with members of our community, and to providing a different perspective on what it means to be a New Orleanian.

Happy Anniversary to VIVA NOLA and big THANK YOU to everyone who continues to make it possible. From our sponsors, writers, designers, web and social media teams, editors, readers, to all of our followers and supportive friends, you are greatly appreciated.

Last but not least, to all the wonderful mothers who follow us and read us, I hope you feel the extra love during your special day. Happy Mother’s Day!

Follow us on social media to stay connected and to find out about surprise celebrations of our first year!

AnaMaria