Nina Simone famously sang that in summertime, "the livin's easy." Well, for someone who loved jazz so much, she sure as hell never spent a summer in New Orleans. Because summertime in NOLA isn’t exactly like summertime in other places. Here’s what the locals all understand (if not appreciate) about this less-than-magical season...
1. It is inevitable
“Winter is coming?” We wish. As soon as your shower takes all of three seconds to get hot, you know what’s on the way. And that is...
2. "Oppressive Soup"
These are the two words most often used to describe what it feels like to be outside in NOLA in the summertime. You walk outside and it envelops you, as though the air has just somehow turned into gumbo.
3. Acclimation without complaint
Real New Orleanians understand what happens to their bodies in “The Soup.” They also know its various remedies (see below), and not to moan on and on about it. Everyone’s hot. Complaining gets you nowhere.
4. What “hucklebucks” and “freezies” are
Hint: they are the same thing, which is frozen Kool-Aid turned upside down in a Dixie Cup. It is the official flavor of a New Orleans childhood summer.
5. Multiple wardrobe changes
You’re going to sweat through your clothes. So you’d best have a change handy.
6. White linen and seersucker are your best friends
Speaking of clothing, there’s a reason white linen and seersucker are summertime wardrobe staples: they are light (literally and physically), and they’re designed to reflect heat and wick away moisture. Plus, they make pretty much anyone look exceptionally dapper.
7. The A/C repair person is essentially Jesus
Few things are more important to a NOLA local than conditioned air in the summer months. And if that fails, whoever turns up to fix it will be your personal messiah.
8. Why you should be prepared to stay inside the first time a person says the word “swarm”
Formosan termite swarms will make you feel like you’re in that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. You know the one we’re talking about.
9. The necessity of constantly looking at the sidewalk
Stinging caterpillars are absolute d-bags, and they’re everywhere, and they’ll sting the holy hell out of your feet and ankles if you’re not paying attention.
10. Daily 3pm thunderstorms
In July and August, you can almost perfectly time the arrival of a huge tropical shower that will suddenly move in for an hour and then vanish, as if by magic. This, coincidentally, is the world’s most perfect time to take a nap.
11. Having a tourist tell you that “You must be used to this!”
Wanna see how hard a NOLA native can roll their eyes? Say this sentence in front of them. You never get used to it... you just come to understand it better than most.
12. Having an evacuation bag and plan
Hurricanes are very real and potentially deadly. We all know this. We also know that we might have to GTFO at any given moment, and that preparing for that moment is a really, really good idea.
13. A person with a generator will be very, very popular
A power outage (and you know it’s going to happen) also means an A/C outage. Not good. If you have a backup generator, be prepared for company. And if you’re the company, be prepared to bring beer.
14. Same goes with a person who owns a pool
Every New Orleanian eventually develops a list of friendly pool owners.
15. Movie theaters are the best places on the face of the planet
Well, they were invented in New Orleans, so it only stands to reason that locals would flock to them and their divinely delicious cool air.
16. What you’re smelling at any given moment
From blooming flowers like Confederate Jasmine, magnolias, and angel’s trumpets to less-hospitable aromas like mule crap and sour garbage (and the pervasive “Uptown vomit smell”), NOLA is a fragrant place, on many levels, especially during the summer.
17. The ironic necessity of having a jacket or shawl handy
Going from Oppressive Soup to a freezing office, home, or movie theater (see above) is like participating in one of those European spas that has different rooms set at strikingly contrasting temps. To avoid hypothermia, sometimes, weirdly enough, a jacket or sweater is necessary.
18. You'll experience the entire range of human emotions while waiting in line for a sno-ball
And when you get your sno-ball, there is only one emotion left: pure, unfiltered, unabashed joy.
19. When the heat spikes, so does the crazy
When it gets *really* hot (even for New Orleans), mildly depraved people tend to become severely depraved people. It’s always best to be polite and on guard, just in case you encounter one of them. In a similar fashion...
20. Anyone who exercises outdoors is utterly batshit insane
You’re... jogging in this? We don’t know what’s wrong with you, but we don’t want to catch it.
21. Frozen daiquiris are Manna sent directly from Heaven
From God’s hands to your lips, and not just for tourists.
22. We “hydrate” with cold beer
It’s less dubious than our public drinking water and also more fun.
23. Free facials
No need to go to the day spa, since the humidity ensures that your skin will be radiant and glowing all summer long.
24. Avoid the news in late August
Television, radio, and Internet reportage relating to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina should be avoided at all cost. In fact, it should come with a mandatory trigger warning. No one who survived that wants to relive it on prime time.
25. That’s not a bird. It’s a roach.
Specifically, a Palmetto bug. They are enormous, and they fly, sometimes directly at you. It is advisable not to burn your house down trying to kill it, however tempting that is.
26. How to get irrationally excited about football
No matter what that bastard Goodell does to the Saints -- not to mention what the Saints tend to do to themselves -- it’s impossible for a NOLA football fan not to squee like a fangirl the first time they catch a glimpse of black and gold.
27. That no matter how bad it gets, fall is just around the corner.
And thank goodness for that, because if we had to take this crap for one more day...
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