When April is coming they’re thinking of Annette and Frankie out at the beach. It’s a mindset. They hadn’t had sno-balls all year. They can't wait to get sno-balls. Then August comes around and they say, “I’m gaining too much weight eating these things.” These things aren't diet balls, you know.
Southern Snow Manufacturing
Beginning during the Depression era, Simeon Clement shaved ice by hand at Clement’s Sweet Shop in Algiers, just across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans. More than 80 years later, Simeon’s grandson, Bubby Wendling, runs one of largest sno-ball supply businesses in the world. At Southern Snow, Bubby oversees the manufacturing of electric ice-shaving machines, block-ice makers, and roughly 170 flavor extracts; he also sells imported ice-shaving machines, retrofitted sno-ball trailers, and every product a vendor might need to equip a sno-ball stand. Bubby (given, but never used, name Milton) also started out as a sno-ball stand owner, operating for a few years out of a house trailer, but he found his calling in developing flavors and mentoring small business owners. He and Southern Snow’s flavorist, Carl Brauner, work with essences sourced from numerous flavor houses to concoct their own signature line. Carl, who earned a degree in industrial technology before discovering his super-palate, is also Southern Snow’s colorist, a big job considering that, as Bubby puts it, the amount of coloring in one sno-ball “could color a whole swimming pool.” Bubby’s mother and sister have worked in the business; his nephew, Greg Darling, left a career in the prosthetics field to work with him and gives Bubby hope that Southern Snow has a long future ahead.
Date of interview: May 4, 2011 Interviewer: Sara Roahen Photographer: Sara Roahen