by Ian McNulty
The irises are in bloom around City Park lagoons, winter coats are being stowed amongst bundles of Mardi Gras beads in attics and our seasonal sno-ball stands are reopening. It must be springtime in New Orleans.
Uniquely local, often misunderstood by outsiders and newcomers, embedded in the neighborhoods and found everywhere, the cheap, garishly-colored, rambunctiously sugary sno-ball is more than an icy treat. It’s a way of life in New Orleans, part of this city’s hands-on culture and an obsession some New Orleanians never outgrow. Another season to savor them is officially underway.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz reopened last Friday, serving for the season every day except Monday. It may seem like time stands still inside this Uptown landmark, yet intriguing new flavors have emerged here in recent years, including anise, ginger, limeade and satsuma. Ashley Hansen, proprietor and granddaughter of the shop’s late founders Mary and Ernest Hansen, says she’s working on new, all-natural flavors that should debut later in the season.
Earlier in the month, Plum Street Snowballs started cranking up its ice shaver, and now the corner of Plum and Burdette streets is again stalked by people digging snoballs from the plastic-lined Chinese take-out containers that are the trademark of this vintage backstreet gem.
In Old Metairie, the classic Sal’s Sno-Balls (1823 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 666-1823) has been back in action since late February, serving such distinctive flavor combinations like “pink squirrel” (cream of nectar with almond) and “sock it to me” (bubble gum and ice cream flavor), and serving them later than most (until 10:30 p.m.), making it a popular after-dinner stop for adults.
In Mid-City, the perennial line has reappeared outside Pandora’s Snowballs (901 N. Carrollton Ave., phone n.a.) and in Harahan the elaborate neon lights are sparked up at Ro-Bear’s Snowballs (6869 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, 737-5013). Everyone has their favorite shop, and with spring gathering steam now is the time to get reacquainted.
4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-9788;
901 N. Carrollton Ave., phone n.a.
Plum Street Snowballs
1300 Burdette St., 866-7996
6869 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, 737-5013
1823 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 666-1823