Popsicle Doorbell is the secret cool treat of the Bywater

Blackberry and cream, rosemary lemonade, mango -- one dad's quest to spend more time with his kids as turned into a refreshing treat in the Bywater.

by Marielle Songy
April 14, 2021

In the heart of the Bywater, on a warm spring day, I was walking down the street when I spotted something magical. At 1201 St. Roch St., there’s a colorful door decorated with chalk-drawn popsicles and a sign that read “Popsicle Doorbell”. I was intrigued, so I rang the bell. Out popped Jesse Reilly, owner of Big O’s Original Pops and the creator of this funky little doorbell that delivers cold, sweet treats on hot days. It’s an unusual concept, so I wanted to learn all about how Big O’s Pops and the doorbell came to be.

The Sweet Reason

Reilly, who originally hails from the Little Rock area and moved to New Orleans eight years ago, had been working in advertising for 15 years when he knew there was something else he wanted to do with his life. Inspired by King of Pops, a popsicle shop right outside of Atlanta, he decided to create unique popsicles and share them with his neighbors.

Making popsicles was an easy decision. Reilly’s wife is a busy pediatrician and he wanted a job that would allow him to connect with his three kids — all under 5 years old.

“Part of my motivation was spending more time with my kids. I needed to do something that would still allow me to be a good dad,” he said.

Big O’s Original Pops was launched last summer and has been a hit ever since. Reilly has pedaled his tasty treats all over the Bywater at Crescent Park and Markey Park and he’s sold at festivals and on Frenchmen Street. For easier transport and selling, Reilly enlisted the help of craftsman Mike Weber to build a tricycle that could hold a cooler, so that he could pedal his pops all over town.

via Big O’s Pops

Dessert Desert

Reilly wanted to offer dessert in the Bywater specifically because he sees it as an area that’s lacking in that department. He started simple and made the pops the old fashioned way until he was able to upgrade to a more sophisticated setup.

“There really weren’t other dessert places in the Bywater, so I wanted to fill the void,” he said. “I started making pops in a cheap popsicle mold, but now I have a professional machine that freezes them quickly.”

Reilly does his best to make his pops with local produce and keeps the flavors rotating and innovative, all while supporting local businesses. He recently worked with Isabelle’s Orange Orchard, in Algiers, who provided him with blood oranges for blood orange pops. Some of Big O’s other specialties include such fresh flavored pops as watermelon basil lemonade, rosemary lemonade and cookies and cream — which are made with big chunks of cookie for a good bite. Reilly said that he’s always open to ideas and up for a challenge- coming up with new popsicle flavors is part of the fun.

Social Distancing Sweets

As for that nifty doorbell, the idea actually came to Reilly in February. He wanted a way to sell Big O’s Pops while taking care of his kids.

 “The doorbell idea really came out of convenience and then COVID happened; it became a way to sell pops while practicing social distancing,” he said.

Neighbors make good use of the doorbell, stopping to ring it for something refreshing while enjoying an afternoon walk or bike ride. Customers can easily pay through Venmo, and the pops come wrapped.

Reilly hopes to soon be able to get back to selling his popsicles all over the city and, once again, provide pops for parties and special events. He also has plans for a brick and mortar location near St. Roch Market, tentatively scheduled for a July open.

When I stopped by, I couldn’t wait to ring the bell and try some of these cool concoctions for myself. The menu has flavors such as strawberry and cream, blackberry and cream, rosemary lemonade, papaya and mango and many more. At only $3 apiece, it’s easy to try more than one flavor, so I decided to treat myself to a blueberry, mango and cream pop and a watermelon basil lemonade pop.

The blueberry, mango and cream was delicious and tasted just like ice cream! I love that Big O’s has a nice variety of cream pops, in case you’re in the mood for something on the rich side. The watermelon basil lemonade pop was crisp and delightful and made for the perfect refresher on a sunny afternoon.

With so many snowball stands in town, Big O’s Original Pops is offering something a little different. If you want a delicious treat, just ring the bell!

3510 Royal St
Getting there
3510 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70117, USA

Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you. Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

More Local Stories

Top 407: the best hot dogs in Orlando

We tried Chicago Dogs, Spicy Chili Dogs, Buffalo Dogs, Reuben Dogs, and more across the Orlando area to find the best hot diggity dogs.

A guide to must-do summer events in New Orleans

Now that we’re back outside, let’s take a look at the events to do in New Orleans for the summer.

What’s On the Menu?: Greenville Food Trucks

What’s On The Menu Greenville is serving up barbecue, Latin, vegan and Thai food from mobile kitchens on wheels. Find out what’s cooking inside these fantastic Greenville food trucks.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to must-do summer events in New Orleans

Now that we’re back outside, let’s take a look at the events to do in New Orleans for the summer.

new orleans parks

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

black owned brunch spots new orleans 14 parishes

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

From the Ivory Coast to Gentilly Woods – Eburnieya brings West African flavors to New Orleans

Owner Ashley NDakpri’s endeavor is the only restaurant in New Orleans that serves Ivorian cuisine.