Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The sno-cone machine is a Louisiana invention, and there is no shortage of choices in Lafayette to beat the heat and paint the tongue. By Anna Purdy - Photos by Daniel Landry
Snowballs, snoballs, snow cones, sno-cones or the adult version: drive-through daiquiris. Whatever you want to call it or however you spell it, it’s needed in a Louisiana summer.
Snowballs are as native to Louisiana as crawfish and tropical storms. With snowballs, everybody wins: since they are simply ice and sugary flavoring they are cheap to produce, and because it’s hotter than the hammered down hinges of Hades during these solstice days in Louisiana, the consumers gain a brief and tasty respite from the summer sun, at least in their mouths.
The invention of the snowball machine is credited to George J. Ortolano, a New Orleans grocer. Starting around 1936 and utilizing his mechanical know-how — figuring that using a hand-planer and a block of ice to make a sno-cone would really be an awful thing to have to do multiple times a day like the other stands were doing — he invented the first snowball machine.
Called the Snow Wizard, it produced a treat more finely wrought than traditional sno-cones. After George’s wife Josie began to use supplies from their grocery store to make unique snowball flavors, they really took off. Now shortened to SnoWizards, they are still being manufactured and sold today, and the company remains in the family.
In honor of this uniquely Louisiana summer experience, here are just a few of our favorite sno-cone stands in Acadiana.
916 S. Main Street, St. Martinville
For about 55 years this snowball stand had no sign, but everyone knew it as Pearl’s. Pearl Prade owned and ran this shop herself until breast cancer took her a few years ago; it stands in the front of what was Pearl’s house. Now her nephew, whom everyone calls Babe, runs the stand, and although he’s added a sign, he’s kept the same sharply flavorful ice that has had locals walking, biking and driving to this end of St. Martinville for several decades. Babe’s is located next to a steel shop, so the blades for the snowball machine are kept sharp; the result is whisper-fine ice. The building is bluish-green and striped like candy, and when summer comes to call, Babe’s answers, throwing open the windows on the tiny stand to scores of folks looking to cool down. My own mother has been going there since she was a girl when her favorite flavor was lemon. Now that she is a retired professor her favorite is margarita, arguably the grown-up version of her girlhood choice.
106A Roselawn Blvd., Lafayette, 789-0176
Speaking of grown up, O’SNEAUX is a modern version of a snowball. It features sugar-free and organic flavorings so those who leave the gym and want to sneak a treat don’t have to beat themselves up about it. Located across from Brother’s on the Boulevard, O’SNEAUX has everything from the tried and true to energy drink flavors. It also serves up frozen pickles, ice cream, hot dogs, nachos and Frito pies. I imagine the last three on this list do not come with an organic option. O’SNEAUX can cater, too, which is great for summer parties. Open daily 1-8 p.m.
OLD TYME SNOWBALLS
218 West St. Mary, Lafayette, 235-8165
Located behind Old Tyme Grocery, you can order one of the poboys Old Tyme is famous for then walk around back for a snowball. If you drizzle enough Louisiana Gold on your poboy, the cool sweetness of Old Tyme’s snowballs is pretty rad. You can get a straight-up snowball — flavoring over ice — or you can get it “stuffed.” A stuffed snowball, for the uninitiated, means ice cream in the middle or a healthy coat of condensed or evaporated milk, part of the delicious reason why Louisiana is near the top of the national obesity chain.
4303 Johnston St., Lafayette, 981-3342
This is one of the best-known snowball stands in Lafayette. Lines are usually backed up during the dog days of summer, but they go fairly fast and it gives you time to digest the menu and make your pick. There are organic flavors as well as sugar-free, or you can just throw caution to the wind and ask for some condensed milk on top.
320 W. Willow St., Lafayette, 456-3051
Right off the Thruway there is a stand put up after Lafayette’s Cupid became famous for his shuffle. Once known as UL athlete Bryson Bernard, Cupid opened the stand a few years ago on Lafayette’s northside, and it’s been a growing success ever since. At first the offerings were simple — you could get a snowball and a hamburger for $2 plus tax. The prices haven’t really gone up, but the menu has certainly expanded. Now you can choose boudin, stuffed bread, poboys, porkchop sandwiches, hot dogs, daily plate lunches or Frito pies before you pick from more than three dozen different sno-cone flavors. There are the standards like grape, cherry and watermelon, and then there’s the unusual — flavors like dill pickle, Creole cream cheese, egg nog and the favorite of kids everywhere: dinosaur.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Homecoming outfits with ease
Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
Three bedroom traditional or four bedroom traditional in Lafayette
Our fav dress for all seasons
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.
Noted architect and co-founder/principal of Architects Southwest receives highest honor given to former student.
Know an innovator, job creator and visionary with a penchant for hard work? We want to know that person.
He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.