Tuesday, June 25, 2013

7th Ward hucklebuck ladies: Do they still exist?

Posted By Google on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Hucklebuck: A frozen treat made of flavored syrup and water. Also known as a huckabuck, frozen cup, iceberg, cool cup or cold cup.

“Are there hucklebuck ladies around here anymore?” I ask a woman sitting on her Hope Street porch in the 7th Ward, my childhood stomping grounds. “I’m sure all the ones I knew growing up are dead.”

“No, not anymore,” she responds, a hint of longing in her voice. As I hang my head a little, feeling embarrassed for even asking the question, she shouts, “Well, there might be a lady by the park, but I don’t know.”

I thank her and skip toward my car, hearing a dog bark and thinking about how I called Hope Street "Dog Street" when I was a girl, since there were so many vicious-looking dogs there.

I quickly realize a tan pit bull is chasing me. The nice things I’ve read about pit bulls from their advocates leave my mind and are replaced with 6-year-old Megan’s memory of Uncle Bobby Sardie’s German Shepard leaping up and biting his hand, getting blood everywhere on Easter morning.

“Get it away from me!” I shout repeatedly, wishing I would have just walked to my car instead of skipping there. Thankfully, the dog’s owner calls it back to herself and away from me.

Safely in my car, I begin to wonder if my search will be fruitless. I see a man around my age and ask him the status of hucklebuck ladies in the 7th Ward. He confirms their absence. I turn down New Orleans Street, thinking of the hucklebuck ladies around Hardin Park I knew growing up, like Miss Thibodeaux who always had double- and triple-color ones. Perhaps hucklebuck ladies are casualties of Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods or maybe of 9/11.

Lester and Carolyn Vallet have been selling hucklebucks on North Broad near St. Bernard for years.
  • MEGAN BRADEN-PERRY
  • Lester and Carolyn Vallet have been selling hucklebucks on North Broad near St. Bernard for years.

A friend of mine recently told me his mom sells hucklebucks around St. Aug daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., but I didn’t see her. I wondered if I was given the hucklebuck okie-doke.

On North Dorgenois Street, across from Hardin Park, I see two men sitting on the porch. They look vaguely familiar, like if my mom were alive they’d all probably figure out we were “couzans” in that 7th Ward Creole type of way. I ask them if they know a hucklebuck lady. “Yeah, right around the corner,” one responds. “And she just went home!” the other chimes in.

I thank them and excitedly dash to my car — this time quickly checking for mad dogs. I make a quick turn down Allen Street and see what I thought only existed in the recesses of my mind: the definitive 7th Ward hucklebuck lady.

Has my quest for the definitive 7th Ward hucklebuck lady been worth it?

She’s younger, wearing a tank top instead of a house coat and has some new school flavors like cake and mango, but I can tell the anecdotal 7th Ward hucklebuck lady hasn’t changed.

Once I get my hucklebuck, I firmly but slowly roll it between my hands to loosen it from the plastic cup so I can flip it over and eat it best way. I pop-and-flip it perfectly, as expertly as I did when I was a girl. Turns out, I haven’t changed either.

I still got it!

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