The Roman Candy Man
In 1915, Sam Cortese had a wagon designed so that he could make his mother's special Italian
taffy recipe as he rode through the streets of the city.  Sam's grandson, Ron Kottemann, uses
the same wagon today, continuing a family business that long ago became a New Orleans
tradition.  He and his mule, Patsy, can be found rambling down the streets of the city and
parking, here and there, under the shade of an oak tree.  They have no set itinerary, so
catching sight of them is always a happy surprise.  And, for a child exiting school at the 3
o'clock bell, there aren't many surprises as happy as finding the Roman Candy Man parked on
the street outside, waiting for the children to gather around the wagon and choose their
favorite flavors.  Mom and Dad are usually pretty pleased, too.
Luckily, folks who don't live in the city, can enjoy this wonderful New Orleans
tradition, too.  Roman Chewing Candy is available online:  
Click here.   Be sure
to watch the video at the bottom of the page.
I was relieved and happy to learn that Ron, Patsy and the wagon had all survived the flood,
the only casualty being Patsy's barn, which has now been re-built.  They are back at work,
roaming the streets of the city, making the days brighter for children of all ages.
The Roman Candy Man, ca 1980
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