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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: New Orleans Sno-Balls

ORAL HISTORY

Bubby Wendling


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 eighty 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:
2011-05-04

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

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