Your icy stare when I tell you I only recently learned of New Orleans Sno-ball culture: Is it shaved or chipped?

Who knows how I missed the sweet, technicolor world of sno-balls on my first two trips to New Orleans? Chalk it up to tourists’ ignorance, a limited food budget, and the sheer number of fun and fascinating things to do here. Needless to say, this summer just got a whole lot cooler—I’ve set out on a tour de frozen flavors with suggestions from locals and dozens of articles on the subject. The one from Southern Foodways Alliance features oral histories from several of the city’s snowball vendors. Five takeaways:

Pandora’s Snowball stand in Mid-City where it’s hot to get cool (photo: Pandora’s common)

  1. Ice made for sno-balls requires a specific step in the ice-making process, according to David Romig and Kenny Cristina of Christina’s Ice Service: they blow air in it! Also, their ice is made in a vat that’s similar to a swimming pool.
  2. “He didn’t want his children to be snowball people. He wanted his children to have titles. […] I was more of the pet. I snuck in, I think,” said Ashley Hansen, granddaughter of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz’s founders Ernest and Mary Hansen, of what her grandfather thought of the next generation working in the business.
  3. Sal’s Sno-Balls goes through 1,000 lbs of ice PER DAY!
  4. Tee Eva is everywhere in this city. The founder of Tee Eva’s Pralines and Pies passed just this past Thursday. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know who she was before my friend Jennifer told me of her passing, but I learned all about Tee Eva’s fabulous, generous spirit Friday night, when I sat in on Jennifer’s WWOZ show. Jennifer paid fond tribute to the Baby Doll member, who was also Antionette K-Doe’s best friend. In this interview with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Tee Eva talks aboutgoing to a Greek store on Washington and Willow when she was four or five and buying ice cups for a penny, whenever she had one.
  5. The difference between the chipped, hard Ocean City, MD boardwalk sno-cones of my youth and the luscious, fluffy clouds I see before me isn’t just textural, it’s cultural. Onward, to sugar rushes and brain freezes, in the name of social science!


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[…] sno-balls, my obsession with which is equal parts culinary, historic, and personal—how have I only recently learned of New Orleans sno-ball culture? Maybe it’s easy to miss something glorious when the glorious […]

Praline queens and sweet sno-ball dreams: A late night at WWOZ – Via Nola Vie