NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Old Town Soda Shop in Slidell isn’t your standard ice cream shop. It’s full of sweet, frozen treats, but it’s also a step back to a time when you could order a nectar soda – an old recipe that still gets an approving smile today.
In 1988, Frank Jackson decided to step away from the construction business and open the Old Town Soda Shop. It was closed for seven years when hurricane Katrina flooded his business and much of this old neighborhood.
“I got talked into the reopening and we brought it back, but it was really for the community,” Jackson said. “I missed my customers. I missed the little kids coming in and watching their faces light up, the old people, I love the older generation coming in, just amazed at the soda fountain.”
Jackson said since the shop opened in 1988, they’ve done over 3,000 birthday parties.
McNamara: “I mentioned that I had taken my son here for a birthday, when he was about 3-years-old, and you said, ‘What was his name?” and you went through a bunch of Ryan pictures and you found him. You've saved all of these birthday party pictures.
Jackson: “Saved them all. Why? Why would I get rid of them?
Frank kept all of the pictures in plastic containers and he’s been able to restore memories for people who lost all of their family photos to Katrina. And, the old fire truck that took kids for birthday rides is still in service.
Frank prides himself in his home-made premium ice creams.
“I want to make flavors that nobody else can. we make Play-Doh, I make jalapeno cream cheese, I make crawfish,” he said.
McNamara: “I ate Play-Doh when I was a kid. It did not taste good. I think the best thing about it is that there was a warning that said it was not toxic.”
Jackson: “It was really the colors. A lot of places that call it Superman or other things like that, we looked at it and said it looks like Play-Doh to us.
The Play-Doh ice cream actually has the almond flavor of wedding cake.
Visitors can also admire Frank’s collection of ice cream scoops. He has more than 800 hanging on the walls, including this one patented in 1876.
Jackson: “The scrapers on the inside go around. And that would drop the ice cream out and it was served a little round dish.”
The Old Town Scoop Shop is the kind of place that gets people talking about the way it was.
“Over the 30 years, now those children that were coming in with their grandparents and we talk about, we serve memories,” Jackson said. “They are now telling their kids about this soda fountain and they talk about their grandparents that aren't here anymore.”
Along with memories, this soda shop is also serving a lot of smiles.