Blame the improvement of New Orleans’ coolest confection on one man’s need for clean.
It was a summer day during the Great Depression when Ernest Hansen got the idea that would shape his life. He and his son, seeking relief from the heat, watched as a man rattled past with his sno-ball cart. Hansen wouldn’t bite, soaring temperatures be damned.
Sno-balls had already become a Southern summer staple. Vendors shaved ice by hand, off a block and into a cone. Next came the flavors. Spearmint, strawberry, pineapple. The tastes of the season. Liquid ruby, emerald, sapphire. A treat fit for a king.