Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, Not Snowballs, in New Orleans

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(Photos taken by TB)

In the July heat that seems to rush up and down the Mississippi River and hover over New Orleans, I find respite at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz on a boring corner of Tchoupotoulis Street. The crowds gather here like someone’s golden retriever is telling spiritual secrets. Summer days, the masses line from the corner, stand inside a beaten screen door, and shuffle along the sunflower yellow line leading to Mr. Hansen’s handmade, U.S. Patent-ed ice machine. Ten thousand aging photographs tell you the story you are standing in. The people in them testify to how worth it your wait will be.

(No, seriously. These things are really good. I mean it.)

The curly-haired college boy running the machine uses the word "velvety" to describe the Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. The word choice seems over the top. But crowds in places like this rarely lie, so I trust him.  Plus, the room’s energetic and happy. Ashley Hansen, granddaughter to the original owners, now runs the cinderblock NOLA landmark with great cheer. And the delightful gal does not stop smiling for the six hours a day Hansen’s opens during the summer months, taking orders (Sizes go by prices: "I’ll have two $2 and one $3."), and pouring family-recipe syrups over the freshly shaved ice.

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Tasting my banana and wild cherry outside and back in the heat, I believe the hype. This ice is unlike any ice I’ve ever tasted.  I’d eat it by the cup-full even without the flavors. I watch dozens of families tromp their giddy children into Hansen’s, their eyes as big as lollipops, their tongues waiting to be colored for a day. These are the places, I think, that define a neighborhood.

When I speak to Ashley Hansen later, when the crowds are gone, she’s tired, kind and enjoyable, but heavy-eyed. Long day. Long summer.

"I need a sno-bliz," she says.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz
4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
New Orleans, LA 70115

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COMMENTS

  1. aromatherapy oils

    I had one of these sno-bliz and there’s this one distinct aroma that calmed my senses. I bet children love it because of that.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm
  2. forex blogs

    Thank’s Taylor for this story!

    December 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm
  3. Almonds health benefits

    The almond is related to peach, but the fruit toughens into a leather coat, called the hull, which contains the shell and the edible seed. Today aroma therapists, masseurs and beauticians use almond oil for its natural emollient and skin rejuvenating properties.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:14 am
  4. Heather Gorman – Clogher

    :0)

    June 28, 2010 at 3:04 am
  5. Heather Gorman – Clogher

    Ashley been trying to find you for a long time to see how you have been. MIss you and my favorite snowballs look me up on Facebook as Heather Gorman talk with you soon :0)

    June 28, 2010 at 3:03 am
  6. M.Parker

    Did you know there is now a Snowball stand in Vero Beach, Florida? Sunside Fun serves Snowballs–New Orleans style–from 18th St. between 14th Ave. and Old Dixie Hwy. in Downtown Vero Beach.

    August 18, 2009 at 11:22 am
  7. Patti

    I remember growing up in Metairie in the 50s and riding my bike every day after school to a guy’s house (maybe on Duplessis?) where he sold snowballs out a window—I always had half blueberry and half nectar. Would sure love one of those again, but I fear that he’s doubtless long gone.

    July 29, 2008 at 4:33 pm
  8. StephanieGraf

    Great story, Taylor! No trip to NOLA is complete without a stop at Hansen’s.

    July 22, 2008 at 6:08 pm
  9. Hobbs

    Sounds refreshing!

    July 22, 2008 at 1:01 pm
  10. Melany Mullens

    My friend Stephanie took us for a Sno-Bliz on my way to the airport. It was the perfect end to a fun-filled weekend at Tales of the Cocktail (especially since I didn’t need another drop of alcohol). My plastic souvenir cup made the trip back to Virginia. Great meeting you!

    July 22, 2008 at 8:26 am
  11. JVC

    Nothing makes you feel like a local more than pulling up to a cinder-block building and acting like you know what you’re doing. Thanks for the tip, Taylor. Best snowball, er Sno-Bliz, I’ve ever had. I ordered the cream of almond–amazing. Sweet, but not cloying. Nutty, but not crunchy. A perfectly balanced, delicate almond milk. I slurped my way to the bottom of the souvenir cup.

    July 21, 2008 at 6:20 pm

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