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« In the groove with Stanton Moore and Trombone Shorty | Main | Allen Toussaint »
Sunday
Jan272013

Snoballs at Hansen's Sno Bliz

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

Ashley makes a snoball as her dad Jerry and grandmother Mary superviseWe completely lucked out on this one. Bob and Geoffrey were in a back room of Dr. Ben Springgate’s home, interviewing him about health care options for the disadvantaged in New Orleans and about the city’s overall health after Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill. I was on my cell phone in the kitchen, working out the details for our next interview of the day and hanging out with Ben’s wife Ashley and their infant daughter Avery. Someone had mentioned running a family snoball stand and as I asked Ashley more and more questions, it sounded like it could be a nice little interview. It turns out that Ashley runs Hansen’s Sno Bliz, a New Orleans tradition started by her grandparents seven decades ago.

Ashley makes our snoballs. Bob of course had Limeade, Chad had Ice Cream and Geoffrey had Nectar Creme

Ashley’s grandfather Ernest was a master machinist who invented the first machine to shave ice in 1934. That machine is still on display in the shop and Ashley still uses her grandfather’s 2nd generation ice shaver made of cast-iron and stainless steel. Ashley’s grandmother Mary started the business in 1939 making her own flavored syrups, a tradition Ashley continues today, going so far as to use the very same bottles. Hansen’s has been in this location, at the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Bordeaux, since 1944 (click here to read more Hansen’s history).

another satisfied customer at Hansen’s Sno Bliz

The shop was closed for July 4th, but Ashley walked us to the back door of Hansen’s Sno Bliz. Inside the place looks much the same as it did in the 1950s, the 70s or the 90s. Several signs from several different decades state the Hansen motto: “There are no shortcuts to quality.” Photos of loyal customers line the walls. There’s an old sign that says “Air condition your tummy with a Hansen’s Sno-Bliz sundae.” And of course Ashley is using the same bottles and ice shaving machine that her grandparents did.

Here’s a movie of our snoballs being finished (at Hansen’s they put down a layer of ice, then syrup, then ice, then syrup, etc because the ice is chopped as fine as snowflakes) then the moment of truth as Bob samples his Limeade snoball.

 

Click here to see more movies of our visit.

 

Click here for Hansen’s online exhibit of articles, photographs, documents and memorabilia.

Click here to see pictures from our latest trip to southern Louisiana, including more pictures of Ashley, the machine and Hansen’s Sno Bliz.

They’re a seasonal operation, open generally from spring until fall.  If you’re in town at the right time, stop on by and tell Ashley that Bob, Geoffrey and Chad sent you.

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

well, I don't want to pop your good feelings, but anyone who has been to Taiwan knows that there are ice shaving machines everywhere(not the same size or shape but same function) that spew out freshly shaved ice that could be topped with all kinds of tropical fruits, syrups and candied goodies. This is a great show but I just wanted you guys to know that an ice shaving machine really isn't that special....in other parts of the world.

July 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChia-Li Sung

yes, i imagine ice shaving machines are everywhere now, but this particular ice shaving machine was invented by the guest's grandfather back in 1934...

July 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterBob Edwards Show

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