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  The irises are in bloom around City Park lagoons, winter coats are being stowed in attics amongst bundles of Mardi Gras beads, and seasonal sno-ball stands are reopening. It must be springtime in New Orleans.

  Hansen's Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-9788; reopened in early March. It may seem like time stands still inside this Uptown landmark, but intriguing new flavors have emerged here in recent years, including anise, ginger, limeade and satsuma. Proprietor Ashley Hansen says she's working on new, all-natural flavors that should debut later this spring.

  Plum Street Snowballs (1300 Burdette St., 866-7996; also started cranking up its ice shaver in March, and in Old Metairie the classic Sal's Sno-Balls (1823 Metairie Road, Metairie, 666-1823) has been back in action since late February. Sal's stays open later than most stands (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 seems to have his or her favorite shop, and with spring gathering steam now is the time to get reacquainted.

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