Sweet Thangs update: Stricen Carter’s ‘designer snoballs’ are now in Mid-City

Stricen Carter is the force behind Sweet Thangs NOLA, a stand that serves decadent snowballs to long lines of eager customers. Her stand brings snowballs to the next level, by packing them with cheesecake, candy and cookies, and these photo-worthy designer deserts have been taking Instagram by storm. She taken her stand from Gentilly to Mid-City and is working on expanding.

by Marielle Songy
April 1, 2021

It’s a warm, sunny day in March and Stricen Carter is doing what she does best — slinging snowballs at Sweet Thangs NOLA, the stand she owns that serves decadent snowballs to long lines of eager customers. Her stand brings snowballs to the next level, by packing them with cheesecake, candy and cookies, and these photo-worthy designer deserts have been taking Instagram by storm. 

Carter, a Houston native, moved to New Orleans when she was 17 to attend nursing school at Dillard University. When the nursing program was cut, she took her entrepreneurial spirit and created a cocktail company called NOLA Sips, at only 20 years old.

“NOLA Sips is an alcoholic drink in a pouch, kind of like a Capri Sun,” she explained. “I got my start outside of Essence Fest in 2017 and the drinks sold out. We had flavors like Mango Passion Fruit, made with Hennessy and Strawberry Lemonade made with Tito’s Vodka. From there, I sold the drinks at 150 different events. We also sold 2,000 units at We Dat’s Chicken and Shrimp, on Canal- they were very popular.”

MORE: How NOLA Sips’ 22-year-old owner went from second lines to her own shop location

 

From Sips to Snowballs

After her success with NOLA Sips, Carter had the idea for designer snowballs, after she saw that New Orleans was lacking an “over the top” dessert place, like other cities had. Carter opened Sweet Thangs, named for a nickname coined by her great-grandmother, in 2019 in a small space in Gentilly. She now serves her unique treat out of a stand at 4202 South Carrollton Avenue.

“I wanted to create a snowball attraction,” she said. “Other cities, like Las Vegas, have these over-the-top desserts and I wanted to create something like that in New Orleans. I’m Mexican and Creole, and when I visited New Orleans with my family, we would get snowballs. Both cultures influence my snowballs and I wanted to make a regular snowball different.”

At 24 years old, Carter’s designer snowball idea has been a huge success. Sweet Thangs boasts 41,000 followers on Instagram and the lines are long as soon as the stand opens. Carter estimates that she served 6,000 snowballs out of the 190 square foot space last summer.

 

So, what do you order?

If you’re heading over to Sweet Thangs for something delicious, Carter has some suggestions on what you might want to order.

“Our most popular flavors are Strawberry Cheesecake which comes with a piece of cheesecake in it, Banana Pudding, and Kaleidoscope, which is our rainbow snowball topped with candy,” she said. “People also love Red Velvet, which is topped with ice cream, Oreos and condensed milk. On Saturdays we have ‘Pineapple Saturdays’ and you can get any flavor snowball served in a pineapple.”

If you’re looking for something to balance out all that sugar, the stand also sells crawfish nachos (with or without Rotel), which has become hugely popular. Carter said that the savory nachos are a nice addition to the sweet snowballs.

 

What’s next for the city’s youngest snowball stand owner?

With all of her success, Carter has expansion on her mind. She’s renovating the space at 2633 St. Claude Avenue- a building that used to be home to Freezy Street, a rolled ice cream shop. At this new location, she will not only be serving her designer snowballs, but she’ll be adding alcohol to the treats, at her customers’ request. This will give her the opportunity to combine her two passions that made her brand: snowballs and cocktails.

She explained, “It’s going to be a spin on a daiquiri shop. We’re going to be putting liquor in the snowballs and we’re going to have a wide variety of flavors and toppings. My dream is to have Sweet Thangs franchises all over the world.”

Carter runs the businesses on her own, with support from her mother, who still lives in Texas. When I spoke with her, she was overseeing construction at her St. Claude location before heading over to her Carrollton location to work for the afternoon. She’s learning as she goes and has been giving herself a crash course on the ins and outs of how small business works. Carter navigates everything from figuring out what her future shop will look like to ordering the machines that will keep her snowball cups filled.

“I work at my own stand every day and put my all into it,” she said. “For example, last year my goal was to get our ice delivered. I knew we would have to have a big order to make that happen, and we reached that goal. Now I have a machine so that I can make my own ice; it’s all about growth.”

Carter said that she has plans to hopefully open her new location within the next month, and she’s working hard to meet that goal. For now, the Carrollton stand is open most days, from 2 p.m. to 6 pm. She will expand the hours to 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., soon.

Carter credits New Orleans culture with her success and she said that the people of New Orleans and her family are why she’s been able to achieve her dreams.

“I’m inspired by the New Orleans food culture, especially food trucks,” she said. “I saw my opportunity and I took it. I come from a very motivated, hardworking family- my grandmother was a judge. I believe that God shows me favor for my hard work.”

Carter said that she hopes that her success story can be an inspiration to others.

“I want to inspire people to keep going,” she said. “I started my business on a sidewalk — take what you’ve been given and turn it into something.”

 

Looking for more ways to cool off? Here are some places you may want to visit

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

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 Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

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. 

Queen Trini Lisa’s Ascension to New Orleans’ Caribbean Soul Food Throne

Lisa Nelson didn’t plan on being a chef. She didn’t anticipate becoming a queen either, but true to the most beloved of royalty, the people made her one.

A grab-and-go food guide to the MSY New Orleans terminal

Time. Most of us don’t have a lot of that. Even less so when we’re rushing to make a flight. There are still plenty of tasty options for the less leisurely travelers among us, though it helps to know where to find them.

Chef Dee Lavigne expands the only Black-owned cooking school in New Orleans

Deelightful Roux School of Cooking is the only African American-owned cooking school taught by a New Orleans native, and her class is a guide to New Orleans’ food culture.