Sipping on a syrupy, cold sno-ball beneath the shade of a massive live oak is one of the most memorable ways to beat the south Louisiana summer heat.
Just outside the entrance to the Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge's City Park, the Who’s There? Eats & Treats concession stand serves 22 flavors of sno-balls, plus hot dogs and other snacks.
“You can’t really avoid it,” said Kathe Managan, of New Roads, who shared a sno-ball with her 4-year-old son last week. “It’s so nice in the summer. It’s nice to cool down.”
In addition to providing a cool respite, the cold treat also benefited a charity with a long history of helping people in Baton Rouge. The Who’s There? stand is run by UpLIFTD, a nonprofit organization that helps the disadvantaged and people with disabilities find work and stay employed.
Participants may have no education or may have a master’s degree, said Nicole Walker, executive director of UpLIFTD. Some may have developmental or intellectual disabilities, and others may have suffered an injury later in life and need training.
UpLIFTD teaches how to find a job, with resume and interview skills coaching, and counsels participants on excelling at work by teaching stress management techniques and independent living.
Work adds a feeling of value to people’s lives, Walker said.
“What’s the first question you ask someone when you meet them? 'What’s your name?' Then, you ask, 'What do you do?' ” she said. “These individuals want to work because they want to be a part of the community.”
UpLIFTD was already at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, managing janitorial services at the museum, Walker said, and the management at UpLIFTD realized the need for concessions.
The Who’s There? Eats & Treats stand opened in May. The stand is currently employing a group of workers, many teens, who are not part of the UpLIFTD program, but the goal is to soon employ program participants, Walker said.
Who’s There? aims to support Louisiana businesses, Walker said. The stand uses Southern Snow syrups and sno-ball machines from New Orleans, and it serves Roy’s Fresh Lemonade from Lafayette.
Erica Hamer, whose family has a membership to the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, said her children, Vivian, 5, and Augustus, 2, love to stop by on their way home.
“These are their favorite sno-balls,” she said. “They get them from other places and don’t always eat them.”
The stand and the museum complement one another well, Walker said.
“Sno-balls are such a large part of Louisiana culture,” she said. “How can you visit here and come to a children’s museum and not have one?”
Who's There? Eats & Treats
1900 Dalrymple Drive, near the Knock Knock Children's Museum
11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; Open until 7:30 p.m. Thursday