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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


Claude and Donna Black

Williams Plum Street Snowballs

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: house-made 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.

Williams Plum Street Snowballs is now called Plum Street Snoballs.

Date of interview:

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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