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New Orleans Faces Summer Without One of Its Favorite Sno-Ball Stands

A sign at Ro-Bears says it’s closed for the 2019 season

Yelp/Rachel P.

New Orleans will face summer without one of the area’s most beloved sno-ball destinations, Harahan’s Ro-Bears Snowballs and Soft Serve. According to a sign posted outside the stand on Jefferson Highway, Ro-Bears will be closed for the 2019 season.

Known best for its extra-rich syrup and condensed milk drizzle (oh, and the chocolate flavor), Ro-Bears is one of the dozen or sno-ball stands New Orleanians look forward to all “winter” long, a 54-year-old institution that also serves ice cream and excellent hot tamales, as is often the tradition at sno-ball stands. It was started by Shirley Roberts in 1965 (while a mother of six) and remains a family-run business, with daughter Janice now running the day-to-day show.

New Orleans’s sno-ball tradition dates back to the 1930s when George Ortolano and Ernest Hansen built the city’s first electric ice-shaving machines after years of vendors shaving ice for the summer treats by hand. The machine’s fine, fluffy product is what came to distinguish the sno-ball from its denser, crunchier snow cone counterpart. Hansen went on to open Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (still under family ownership when it was named a James Beard America’s Classic in 2014), and Ortolano’s follow-up version of the machine is still used in shops today.

Eater has reached out to Ro-Bears for more information and will update if we hear back. There is no indication the closure will extend beyond this season, but we have updated our list of must-try sno-ball stands to reflect this summer’s absence.

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Must-Try Sno-Ball Stands in New Orleans [ENOLA]