Williams Plum Street Snowball

Williams Plum Street Snowball
1300 Burdette St.
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 866-7996

Claude Black didn’t intend to enter the sno-ball business. And then, in 1979, his dad called to announce that he had bought his son Plum Street Snowballs. Fortunately it came with recipes. Claude and his wife, Donna, renamed the business Williams Plum Street Snowballs after the stand’s original owner, Sydney Williams, who opened it in 1945. Three-plus decades and three grown daughters later, the Blacks still use some of Sydney Williams’ recipes. The shop’s worn exterior siding and the metal shelving inside holding the syrup bottles on display are also original to the building. And Williams Plum Street Snowballs is just as difficult to find today as it was when Claude attended grammar school in the neighborhood, at Lusher Elementary, and would stop for after-school sno-balls with his mother. Only now he’s the one giving lost callers driving directions. Claude and Donna have added some new flavors to the menu over the years, as well as a signature sno-ball topper: housemade sweetened condensed milk. While two of their daughters moved away from New Orleans, they all pitch in during high sno-ball season; the oldest, Toni, coordinates all of their off-site events.

Date of interview:

April 4, 2011

Interviewer:

Sara Roahen

Photographer:

Sara Roahen

Williams Plum Street Snowball - Claude and Donna Black - New Orleans Sno-Balls
There are some other varieties of ice-crushers that make what’s commonly known in other parts of the country as sno-cones. But those sno-cones, the texture of the ice is nothing close to what a sno-ball machine can make. A sno-ball machine is going to make ice like you have snow falling from the sky.

They’ll come here their first day with their driver’s license: “Look, Miss Donna. I got my driver’s license! Guess where I came to? Plum Street!” So it’s like I have 30,000 kids. It makes it fun.

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