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Sno-Balls: New Orleans’ (Other) Famous Frozen Treat

Nectar Cream/Ice Cream Flavored Sno-Ball From Plum Street Snowballs
Nectar Cream/Ice Cream Flavored Sno-Ball From Plum Street Snowballs

It’s getting to be summertime here in New Orleans. While most of us are dreading the heat, there are a things to look forward to during the summer months.

It is not surprising that in New Orleans, at least two famous frozen concoctions exist. While both the New Orleans Frozen Daiquiri and the New Orleans Sno-Ball are icy, syrupy, delicious summertime staples, only one is fun for the whole family (depending on your parenting style).

The New Orleans Sno-Ball, finely shaved ice topped with a generous helping of flavored syrup, has been a city tradition for over 70 years. Originally served by push-carts venders and shaved by hand, the sno-ball’s popularity exploded with the creation of Ernest Hansen’s Sno-Bliz machine in 1939. Today it is hard to travel a few blocks without coming across a neighborhood sno-ball stand offering flavors like cherry, strawberry, nectar cream, cake batter, chocolate or limeade.

Wild Cherry/Limeade Sno-Ball From Hansen's Sno-Bliz
Wild Cherry/Limeade Sno-Ball From Hansen's Sno-Bliz

While sno-ball stands are easy to find, there is little doubt that the cities favorites are the original Hansen’s Sno-Bliz and Plum Street Snowballs. Arguments about whose sno-balls reign supreme have torn friendships apart.

Hansen’s at 4801 Tchoupitoulas Street, has the honor of being the inventor of the sno-ball machine and the first to open up a permanent shop in 1944. The walls are covered in news articles and other Hansen’s memorabilia and they dish out everything from a $1.50 one flavored small cup, to a tub of sno-ball covered in crushed pineapple, crushed strawberries, condensed milk, whipped cream and cherries… with ice cream in the middle.

On the other hand, over at 1300 Burdette, Plum Street Snowballs can fit only three ordering customers at a time and its limited wall space has barely enough room to list the dozens of flavors they offer. Plum Street has its own long history to boast having opened in 1945, only a year after Hansen’s. If you venture to Plum Street Snowballs don’t blink or you might miss it tucked into the surrounding residential neighborhood.

So if the heat is getting to you… or you are nursing a hangover from the other kind of New Orleans frozen treat, grab a sno-ball in your neighborhood and appreciate one of the perks of summer.

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