THE ICON: Ernest Hansen
THE LEGACY: Ernest Hansen knew there had to be a better way. Every summer, street vendors in New Orleans would hawk snowballs — cups of finely shaved ice covered with flavored syrups — and people loved them. As refreshing as they were, those pushcarts and hand-shaved snowballs struck Hansen as decidedly unsanitary. So, in 1934, he invented an “ice crusher” machine that would quickly and cleanly produce a gleaming cup of syrup-ready ice. Within five years, he and wife Mary had opened Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, offering an array of hand-crafted flavors for two cents a cup. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz has been helping New Orleans keep its cool ever since.
THE ARTIST: Connie Kittok, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I didn’t think that was clean enough for my kids. I wanted the ice to go straight into the cup without touching someone’s hands. … The whole thing took about five months to figure out, and it’s never broken down in 50 years.” — Ernest Hansen, in a 1989 interview with The Times-Picayune