New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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Snowballs

Most places don't have anything like our snowballs--and if they do they call them "snow cones" (which usually have chunky ice particles and not very tasty syrup).

My daughter works at the semi-famous "Sal's Snow Balls" on Metairie Road. She informs me that the secret is not so much in the syrup (which is pretty good at many snowball stands in and around New Orleans) but in the SHARPNESS of the blade on the snowball machine. She says that the sharper the blade, the finer the ice. The finer the ice, the better is the snowball. She even went so far as to say that she and other workers at Sal's sometimes covertly went down Metairie Road to a rival (but less renowned and now closed snowball stand) for one which was better because their blades were sharpened more frequently.

While I'm on a roll regarding snowballs, I'll add that my mother tells a story from her childhood that says that her grandfather invented the snowball machine. Grandpa Ed Knower was a plumber by trade and a tinkerer in his off time. Here's the family story about the fortune that got away:

Ed Knower used to make window fans which he sold as a sideline when he wasn't plumbing or playing his flute on the back porch. The family lived on Dublin Street at the River and an ice house was at the corner. Neighborhood kids used to go begging for ice there in the summer and were usually given some scrap pieces which they often grated (using some gizmo that apparently most housholds had) and made snowballs. Ed saw the future, hooked a blade to a window fan motor, designed a shoot for the ice to be slowly and carefully pushed into the blade, and finished it off with a handy outlet for the shaved ice to be expelled. Family legend says that Grandpa Ed sold bunches of these "snowball machines". But the dreaded Mr. Ortallano (sp?) stole the idea, patented it, and made a fortune--leaving the Knowers (my family) nearly pennyless.

Imagine my dismay. As well as the chagrin of many families who probably tell the same story.
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Anyone remember a snowball stand named Buudy's (I think)?
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