new orleans inventions

New Orleans

This is a sno-ball, a confection native to New Orleans and found virtually nowhere else. If you think it looks like a sno-cone, you’re right. Both balls and cones are comprised of sweet syrup and frozen water, and both feel good to eat on hot days. The difference though is the consistency. The ice in a sno-ball is crushed finely, easily malleable and melts on your tongue. It’s sweet and fleeting, like most good things.

This phenomenon is the brainchild of a one Ernest Hansen who patented the first ever ice block shaving machine (see fig.1-9) and coined it the Sno-Bliz. (Ernest also holds the patent for a pulley style clothesline, among other things.) He shared his vision with the world when he opened Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in 1939. Ernest blizzed the ice and his wife Mary made brilliant homemade syrups, always following the Hansen family motto: “There are no shortcuts to quality.”

“An ice shaving machine comprising a casing, an ice chamber in said casing, a cutter unit disposed at one end of the ice chamber, a discharge spout leading from said end, a follower member in said chamber, means for moving said follower member in the chamber for urging a block of ice into engagement of the cutter unit, a presser plate hingedly secured at one end within the ice chamber and adapted to bear upon the block of ice, a rod extending from said plate, resilient means disposed on said rod, an operating bar secured on the rod, a foot pedal and flexible connecting means between said bar and the pedal for advancing said bar downwardly upon actuation of the petal”

Hansen’s Sno Bliz is the world’s oldest sno-ball stand, still operating on Tchoupitoulas and Bordeaux. They’re open til 7 today. (Try the Brown Pelican.)