Category Archives: New Orleans Traditions

New Orleans Dining New Orleans Traditions

Three Best Snoball Stands in New Orleans

In New Orleans, we take snoballs very seriously. The season extends even longer than actual summer (though it admittedly gets hotter long before official summer too), and it’s a joyous return when it does, despite the heat that may come with it. Snoballs are the perfect sweet treat on a hot day, whether you like them fruity, creamy, with ice cream in the middle or drenched in condensed milk.

While you can find plenty of snoball stands in New Orleans, a few of them really get it right. Here are three of the best snoball stands in the city.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (Uptown – 4801 Tchoupitoulas St)

Guaranteed, you will wait in some sort of line for a Hansen’s snoball, but it will always be worth it. This Uptown gem makes all of its own flavors using Mary Hansen’s original and secret recipes from back when she opened the joint with her husband Ernest in 1939. They even use the original machine they had back in the day. They make the snoballs in layers so that the snoball is packed with flavor all the way down to the very bottom.

little girl with blonde hair in a blue dress eating a snoball


Pandora’s (Mid-City – 901 N Carrolton Ave)

You can bet that especially on a hot day, this snoball corner store always has a line as well. It’s tucked into the middle of Mid-City just blocks away from City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art and sits right on the Canal St streetcar line for easy access. This stand is also known for getting heavy-handed on the syrup, so if you like your snoball particularly sweet, Pandora’s will hit it right out of the park—City Park, that is.

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New Orleans Festivals New Orleans Traditions

Bastille Day Fete Honors New Orleans’ French Heritage

“French Independence Day,” or Bastille Day, in New Orleans is one of the city’s many cultural celebrations. After the Native American tribes, the area’s original settlers were all French, and the French brushstrokes of New Orleans’ history can still be seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt today. From French words on street signs to French restaurants—and the French Quarter, of course—France has left an indelible mark on New Orleans’ rich culture and history, and Bastille Day in New Orleans is an annual way that the city treasures it.

gold horse carry Joan of Arch against a blue sky

This year, Bastille Day in New Orleans falls on Monday, July 14th, so the weekend before, July 11th through 13th, will be the main days for celebration throughout the city. Back in 2012, it was ranked as the No. 3 Bastille Day celebration in the world by Reuters, so this year is destined to be just as exciting and fun for all who attend.

One of the major Bastille Day New Orleans events each year is a free block party hosted by the Faubourg St. John Merchants Association, usually held in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon just off Esplanade Ave on Saturday evening. The Faubourg St. John is a quiet neighborhood of the city that was once home to many families of French Creole Aristocracy.

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Festivals New Orleans Attractions New Orleans Events New Orleans Traditions

Luck of the Irish: Irish Pubs in New Orleans

Catch a cabbage at a St. Patrick's Day Parade!

Catch a cabbage at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade!



Whehter you knew it or not, the Irish culture is alive  and well in New Orleans, with a large portion of the population able to claim an Irish heritage. As a result, many Irish establishments, particularly pubs, have popped up over the years, and there are plenty to visit on your visit to New Orleans this St. Patrick’s Day. This is not at all an exhaustive list of the many Irish pubs located throughout New Orleans—they are merely a few in a sea of the Irish culture of New Orleans.

Finn McCool’s (3701 Banks St)

Located in Mid-city, Finn McCool’s, also known as simply “Finn’s,” always celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in a big way. This year they have everything from the “Kilts of Many Colour’s Pipes and Drums Band” to a school of Irish dancing on the Friday before St. Patty’s. On the actual day, the pub throws a block party with music, free food, Irish karaoke and a mini float parade where revelers don boxes and march around the block.

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New Orleans Attractions New Orleans Events New Orleans Traditions

Best Spots to Catch Mardi Gras Parades

mardi gras4 (2)The Mardi Gras parade routes are long, and you can find plenty of places to stand—some more crowded than others. Depending on your age, whether or not you have kids and your parade-watching preferences, there are various parts of the route that might be best suited for you. Here are a few of the best spots you can try on your visit.

Grandstands on St. Charles Ave

Depending on the parade, tickets to the grandstands on St. Charles Ave can be fairly cheap and absolutely worth it. When the floats pass, they are just a few feet from where you can stand. And instead of competing with huge crowds on the ground, you can have a place to sit and be more comfortable. Just bring a huge bag for all the beads and trinkets you’re likely to get! Prices range from as low as $5 to $50 a pop depending on the parade, and they can be purchased at

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New Orleans Attractions New Orleans Events New Orleans Traditions

History of Mardi Gras

MardiGras2smWhile Mardi Gras has become a fixture of New Orleans culture, the holiday does not have its earliest roots in the city. The Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday tradition began centuries before in Rome as a religious holiday that marked the last day before Lent, or Ash Wednesday.

The custom spread to France where it then traveled to the French American colonies at the tail end of the 17th century. On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville set up camp about 60 miles south of New Orleans. Knowing that March 3 was being celebrated as a major holiday back in France, Bienville named the spot “Pointe du Mardi Gras.”

In 1703, the first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in what is now Mobile. In 1704, the secret society Masque de la Mobile was founded as a precursor to today’s Mardi Gras krewes. In 1710, the Boeuf Gras Society was established and paraded from 1711 through 1861.

New Orleans was founded in 1718, and by the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in the form of elegant society balls, which became the basis of today’s Mardi Gras ball tradition. In 1781, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association was the first of hundreds of New Orleans’ carnival organizations.

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New Orleans Traditions

New Orleans-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas


Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s time to buy or make a costume for the holiday celebrations. Whether you’re going to be celebrating in New Orleans or simply want to honor the city, you can try one of these New Orleans-inspired Halloween costume ideas.


Mardi Gras Krewe Member

If you can get your hands on an actual Mardi Gras krewe member’s costume, this is a great and simple costume idea. If not, try to find something colorful, maybe of shiny material and patterned to resemble some of the traditional costumes. The costumes are usually pants and long sleeves. If you want to resemble someone on the krewe’s court, assemble a large rounded backing out of cardboard or other straight, sturdy material (though not too heavy—you have to wear this all night) and cover it in feathers, fake jewels and other colorful accoutrements. You can go crazy or stick with one color or theme.

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New Orleans Traditions

Shaved Ice


Summertime refreshment

Summertime refreshment



Shave Ice.  It all seems so simple, but it wasn’t always so.   Where elsewhere they’re all screaming for ice cream in the summer, in New Orleans we scream for snowballs-which are, of course, only possible because of shaved ice.   Very, very finely shaved ice, almost to a liquid state, melting on your tongue with a refreshing sensation.   In Baltimore, we hear, they claim they invented snowballs because they also use shaved rather than crushed ice—but it’s not as fine as ours, and here we pour not just syrup but toppings on top of that shaved ice, like condensed milk.   But it all began with the shaved ice.  Legend has it that Ernest Hansen, of the original Hansen’s Sno-Bliz now on Tchoupitoulas, invented the first block ice shaving machine in 1939; before that, the “snowballs” were made of hand-shaved ice, none too sanitary.   Ernest’s wife Mary started making her own syrups, and there we have it—something else New Orleans does better.   Apart from the Hansens’ contribution, it’s not a far stretch to connect the Sicilian immigrants to New Orleans, who knew about such treats from the old country, to the love of snowballs here.   They’re almost like gelato, really, with the delightful array of snowball flavors available—like Satsuma, or nectar cream, or frozen mint   Everyone has their favorite stand, like the venerable Hansen’s, or Plum Street Snoball uptown, or Pandora’s by City Park. read more »