Your favorite sno-ball (and perhaps even your preferred spelling of the word) might go back to whichever stand delivered that first formative experience with the local frozen wonders. For those who branch out to new turf, however, the diversity of stands and their flavors is enormous and grows each season. Here are a few standouts across town to consider and some of the flavors they're bringing to the game:
4713 Freret St., 430-5508; www.beaucoupjuice.com
For a lighter alternative, fresh-squeezed juice goes over the ice at this hybrid juice bar and sno-ball stand. Try the singularly refreshing pineapple juice sno-ball made with mint harvested from the nearby Edible Schoolyard at Samuel J. Green Charter School.
6560 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, phone n.a.
Back in Harahan this season after a brief stint in Metairie, Droopy's is now in a strip mall close to its original location. One oddity here is the sour pickle sno-ball, and there's an option to have an actual pickle stuck in the cup.
4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-9788; www.snobliz.com
It can seem like time stands still inside Hansen's, yet in recent years intriguing new flavors have emerged including anise, ginger, limeade and satsuma. Crushed pineapples or Marshmallow Fluff are among unique toppings here, while a simple dose of Martinelli's brand apple juice over the "sno" makes a guilt-free treat.
Plum Street Snowballs
1300 Burdette St., 866-7996; www.plumstreetsnoball.com
Kick back on the homemade, double-sided park bench in front of this vintage backstreet gem and dig into sno-balls served in Chinese restaurant takeout containers (protectively wrapped in plastic for your shirt's sake). Plum Street's new king cake flavor is so convincing you'll look for a plastic baby at the bottom of the cup.
6869 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, 737-5013
Shining like a neon monument in Harahan, Ro-Bear's specialty is cream flavors including the oh-so-New Orleans Creole cream cheese. On the savory side, you can get stuffed artichokes and hot tamales here, too (though not in a sno-ball ... yet).
1823 Metairie Road, Metairie, 666-1823
A Metairie classic since 1960, Sal's has evolved some unique flavor combinations like "pink squirrel" (cream of nectar with almond) and "sock it to me" (bubble gum and ice cream flavors). Sal's unusually late closing time (10:30 p.m.) makes it a popular after-dinner stop for adults.
SnoWizard SnoBall Shoppe
4001 Magazine St., 899-8758; www.snowizard.com
This Uptown stand is the place to try the newest creations from Ronnie Sciortino, the tastemaker behind the SnoWizard brand flavor concentrates. Chai lattea, based on chai tea, is one offbeat option, and cherimoya, based on the South American fruit of the same name, has a custardy, mellow berry taste.
Stop Jockin' Sno-balls
3600 St. Bernard Ave., 288-9545; www.stopjockinla.com
Stop Jockin' has the usual array of sno-ball flavors but this 7th Ward business gets a shout out for the moxie to combine a sno-ball stand and a hair salon under one roof. Take a little off the sides and put some condensed milk on top.
Sweet Shack Snowballs
1716 Stumpf Blvd., Gretna, phone n.a.
Just entering its second season, this West Bank newcomer has a drive-through window and special sports-themed flavors like Saintsation (chocolate and ice cream flavor) and LSU (grape and ice cream flavor).