If you order a snow cone in New Orleans, you’ll likely get a blank stare in return. That’s because, in NOLA, it’s all about the powdery, smooth shaved ice that serves as the foundation for the city’s ultimate treat to beat the heat — the snoball.
Whether you’re craving a simple classic like spearmint or the ultimate sweetness of nectar cream (with condensed milk, please), you can’t go wrong. No matter where you go to get your sno-ball fix, you’ll encounter a myriad of syrup flavors, many featuring unique names like Tiger’s Blood and Popeye, as well as fun options, like a stuffed snoball. This is when a delicious scoop of ice cream goes in the middle of the cup, between layers of shaved ice, then everything gets drenched in the flavor of your choice.
Typically, you’ll get a spoon and a straw to enjoy every last drop of this New Orleans-created specialty. You’ll also want to grab a few napkins, especially if you take your snoball to go. But, where oh where should you satisfy your snoball craving? There are tons of places to choose from, but here are a few long-standing favorites in and around the city.
Williams Plum St. Snowballs
One of the beauties of New Orleans is that lots of businesses are situated right inside a neighborhood. Plum St. Snowballs is one of those businesses, a snowball stand that has been serving the Uptown Carrollton area since 1945. Plum St. is widely known in the city for its delicious variety of flavors served in small and large paper pails. Enjoy your snowball at Plum St.’s picnic table, or take yours to-go as you head to the nearby streetcar line for the rest of your day’s adventures.
Possibly the oldest snowball stand in the United States, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz opened in 1934. This snowball stand gets the second half of its name from the “Sno-Bliz” ice shaving machine built by Ernest Hansen himself in the 1930s, the first-ever of its kind! Today, Hansen’s is still operated by members of the Hansen family.
Sno-La is new to the New Orleans snowball game, only arriving on the scene in 2011. However, it has made its mark in a big way by creating the first-ever cheesecake stuffed snoball, offering “snoball tastings” and snoballs served in a souvenir glass mason jar (if you ask). Sno-La has locations along the Carrollton streetcar line and as far out as Metairie and is open year-round.
Located in Metairie, Sal’s Sno-balls has been serving up smiles since 1960 and is regarded by many as the snoball stand with the best syrups. This is a late-night snoball stand, open every day from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. An array of tree stumps and trunks is located just outside Sal’s, giving visitors a unique place to sit and enjoy their snoballs.
Casey’s is another snoball staple of Metairie, located along W Esplanade Ave. You can enjoy its snoballs, frozen yogurt, ice cream, sundaes, shakes, and Casey’s specialty: monsoons. Monsoons are soft serve mixed with lots of fun ingredients like bits of Butterfinger, Reese’s Pieces, and Oreos. If you’re looking for an adventurous dessert, try some of Casey’s specialty snoball flavors like king cake and bazooka.
Yes, there’s nothing quite like a delicious, sweet snowball to beat the New Orleans heat. Want to know another great way to cool down in NOLA? Enjoy a refreshing cocktail from the comfort of the Blake Hotel New Orleans Cafe at the Square Restaurant. After a little break, you’ll be ready to resume exploring the Big Easy.