George J. Ortolano of New Orleans was experiencing a summer much like ours — times were tough and temperatures were soaring. He decided to invent a machine that would deliver cool treats of shaved ice resembling snowballs, wintery things we don’t get too often in South Louisiana.
Snowballs filled with sugary flavors were a hit and have been ever since. What makes our creations special is that they are created with Ortolano’s SnoWizard machine, making them “snowballs” and not merely “snowcones” like much of the rest of the country. The trick is in the finely shaved ice.
Want to learn more? Megan Braden-Perry takes readers on a delightful tour of snowball heaven with “Crescent City Snow: The Ultimate Guide to New Orleans Snowball Stands,” published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. Granted, this will likely only appeal to New Orleans residents, but this colorful little book might be a great one to pick up on a trip to town. Because snowball stands are not created equal, you’ll learn who creates what and why by reading this handy book.
I must admit, I immediately went to Sno Shak, my old neighborhood snowball stand on Jefferson Highway in Old Jefferson, a suburb of New Orleans where I used to indulge in wedding cake snowballs with my kids. Memories such as those are scattered throughout the book, making it a heartfelt read as well as a guidebook.
What's your favorite Snowball or Snowcone flavor? Write and let me know.