At the Table

What’s the Scoop?

By: Hannah Lee Leidy

Some ice cream scoops look like sleek mid-century modern tools of the future. Others are simple, with wooden handles smooth from use. Several are Bakelite and take inspiration from their function, with handles that look like cones, an ice cream truck, even the head of a maniacal looking soda jerk. One looks, inexplicably, like Queen Elizabeth.

These are just a few of the 200-plus ice cream scoops that hang from the center beam at Old Town Slidell Soda Shop, a fixture in Olde Towne Slidell, Louisiana, since 1988.

Originally opened by Frank and Carla Jackson, who are now happily retired, the shop is now run by new owners Joshua Roques and Angela Morant Roques along with business partners Gilbert and Sonia Valencia. The group bought the shop in September 2020, intent on keeping all of its timeless appeal and adding some new features to keep kids of all ages having fun, despite the pandemic.

“Mr. Frank had close to 900 scoops in the collection—they were everywhere,” Morant Roques says. “He took most of his favorites with him, but thankfully left plenty for us to display. Some of them go back to the ’40s.”

The original collection was self-sustaining—whenever a customer brought in a scoop, the reward would be a free scoop of homemade ice cream. The scoops populated to the point that when the Roques were renovating the space, the sheet rock had to be replaced.

“They were just too heavy for the walls,” she said. The idea of hanging them from the center beam was the next best thing, and better shows off the curated collection.

Joshua Roques and Angela Morant Roques with ice cream scoops around them

Morant Roques uses some of her favorite scoops in the upstairs party room, but for daily cones and cups, the shop never strays from Zeroll aluminum ice cream scoops, which feature heat-conductive fluid sealed in the handles.

“They’ve been around since 1935, but they’re still the best, even though you can’t put them in the dishwasher.”

200-plus Ice Cream Scoops, One Team

The Roques are a team—Joshua retired early from AT&T to take care of the building, including restoring the garden and fountain for outside seating, which have come in handy throughout the pandemic.

He also handles making the ice cream—there are about thirty seasonal homemade flavors always in the case. (Think: Caramel apple, Baby Ruth, eggnog, and peppermint bonbon, which is killer in a hot chocolate float.)

An entrepreneur with multiple businesses, Morant Roques was once considered the Queen of Pops, being that she created cake pops and laid out sweets for kids’ birthdays parties. “Before cake pops were a thing!” she adds.

Besides eating ice cream and playing arcade games at the revitalized shop, kids can now putt-putt on the new eighteen-hole mini golf course the couple opened in November.

The shop fits perfectly in Olde Towne, a ten-square-block district of historic buildings, where you’ll find specialty shops, restaurants and museums steps from Bayou Bonfouca. With its selection of vintage Schylling and House of Marbles toys, retro sweets, homemade ice cream, and eye-popping scoop collection, the Soda Shop transports you to a place more simple and sweet.

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