It’s nearly mid June, and I’ve been feeling the signs of a New Orleans summer for a while now: Shorts to work, clothes sticking to you, swamp ass and a blistering heat that takes more than a rattling window unit to cool you down.
The humidity here is brutal, almost to the point of needing gills. When I was in Palm Springs, CA, people scoffed at our pathetic >90° compared to their upper 100s. The lack of humidity, however, makes their heat at least somewhat bearable. New Orleans has that special kind of drowning heat that we endure with the help of our best friend and worst enemy, water.
New Orleans is shaped by water, both historically and geographically. Whenever we think of ways to escape the heat, we fortunately have a few options nearby to jump into. So, grab the Coppertone and take off your clothes. It’s summer, and here’s how you should be spending your weekends.
Most people have that one friend that they keep around only because they have a pool. It’s a necessary evil. If you don’t have friends, there are a few other options around the city. Some might advocate sneaking into hotel pools, and while I am a fan of rooftop swimming, I do not suggest trespassing. The W Hotel hosts Adults/Swim, a series of pool parties on Sundays throughout the summer. $10 admission gets you a spot by the pool, drinks, cabana access, and DJs. If you’re more of a nudist than a clubber, there’s The Country Club. The Bywater pool/bar/restaurant is a great way to cool off and enjoy the scenery. Nudity is not required.
River tubing is the perfect option for those looking to beat the heat and get obscenely drunk at the same time. The perfect combination, I’d say. Louisiana River Adventures (formerly known as Wayne’s World) offers tubing, kayaking and camping, because you don’t want to drive drunk on the Causeway. It’s cheap, and they even offer a special tube for your ice chest. Enjoy the Southern lifestyle of floating down a river while drinking a few cold ones, but do it safely.
Lake Pontchartrain is, in my opinion, an underused resource. Yeah, you might’ve grown a third arm after jumping in a few years ago, but thankfully the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has done a pretty good job of saving our lake and keeping it clean. There aren’t any boat rental companies, but making friends isn’t hard. Grab a drink at SYC, strike up a conversation with an old sailor and maybe he’ll take you for a ride on his dinghy. Or, you could always learn how to sail. If all else fails, hop a fence or two and go to Pontchartrain Beach (and forget what I said earlier about trespassing).
As much as we make fun of our state’s eastern neighbor for being last at everything, Mississippi boasts some pretty good beaches that are within an hour or two of New Orleans. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a great way to escape the city for a day to get in some beach time. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, take the ferry out to Ship Island. It’s close enough to be back in town in time for happy hour.
If you’re desperate and can’t make it until the weekend, I have a hose in my backyard and a sixer of Bud. Come party and we’ll do what we have to do to beat the heat in New Orleans.