To some, the signature summer treat is known as a snow cone and to others as shaved ice, but in New Orleans, it’s called a snowball and it brings nothing but pure satisfaction from the start of spring until the closing of summer. Learn more about this seasonal sweet below so you can snowball like a pro during your next NOLA visit.
A snowball is a customizable sweet made with a mound of fluffy shaved ice, flavored with sweet syrups and topped or stuffed with a number of mix-ins and add-ons. These chilly treats come in small, medium and large and range in price from $2-$6.
Flavors range from stand to stand, but there’s typically an extensive selection to choose from. From fruity flavors to creamy creations, the choice is yours. Standard flavors like strawberry, wedding cake, blue raspberry and others can be found at just about any stand. Unique flavors like bananas foster, praline pecan, king cake and others can be found at select shops across the city. Some shops use local produce, like satsumas, to fresh, only-in-New Orleans flavors. Combine syrups like iced coffee and chocolate to make your own signature snowball.
Don’t forget the add-ons like the local favorite condensed milk drizzle, ice cream-stuffed or gummy bear infused.
The New Orleans tradition dates back to the 1930s when locals George Ortolano and Ernest Hansen used the first ice-shaving machines. They were invented separately but seemingly simultaneously. Since then, New Orleanians and visitors alike have been enjoying the fruits of Ortolano and Hansen's labor. Today, snowball stands and shops can be found in just about every neighborhood of New Orleans offering traditional snowballs and even a number of twisted creations.
From the time spring has sprung until we salute to summer, snowballs can be sound in New Orleans. Opening and closing dates vary by the stand, so make sure to call ahead to guarantee your favorite snowball stand is serving. Some stands are open year-round with snowballs, concession snacks, ice cream and more.
Local stands and gourmet shops can be found all around the city. Whether you’re taking a ride Uptown on the St. Charles Streetcar or enjoying a day in Mid-City at City Park, snowballs can be found all around the city. Even at local festivals, there's typically someone working a snowball machine.
Browse our list of snowball shops in the Crescent City below.