Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Remembering Mary Hansen

There probably isn't a single person Uptown who hasn't been to Hansen's Sno-Bliz. For generations, Hansen's has been one of the icons of New Orleans' small-town neighborhood character, and Mary Hansen, one of its most-loved personalities:

Right before Katrina hit, Mary Hansen was hospitalized in Touro Infirmary with a problem swallowing food. After the problem was treated, her son said, she needed skilled nursing assistance. Ernest, ever at her side, would not leave the hospital. The day she was evacuated -- Sunday, Aug. 29 -- was his 94th birthday.

She was airlifted to Pineville's Huey Long Charity Hospital, where, her son said, "She started slipping and was in pretty bad shape." Ernest was taken to Alexandria, and neither knew where the other was for a while.

"Since my dad retired in '76, they were inseparable. He would never leave her. That was the first time they were separated," Judge Hansen said. It took its toll.

On Sept. 6, they were both taken to Thibodaux, where the judge's brother, Dr. Ernest C. Hansen Jr., lives. "We knew mom was in bad shape so we got them a room together in a nursing home," the judge said.

Mary Hansen died Sept. 8. She was 95. On Nov. 16, she and Ernest would have been married 73 years. She was buried in Thibodaux near a family member.

"My grandmother may not be there in presence but she'll always be there in spirit," Ashley said. "The stand will stay around. I love it. I love the business. I loved her."


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