Aug 13, 201309:33 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
How To Keep Visitors Happy in the Heat
Me and Hubs being touristy.
New Orleans isn't the biggest summer vacation destination in the world, mainly because this time in August is probably about the worst, weather-wise. It's unbearably hot. It's humid as all hell. It's pretty much a time when all you want to do is stay in the air conditioning. Sure, there are ways to tackle the heat: You can wear light clothing or stay hydrated with ice water or drink copious amounts of alcohol to try to make you forget about how miserable you are. But at the end of the day, it's just stupid hot. And there's really no getting away from it, especially if you have guests in town, which is what's been going down the past few weekends for me.
My parents came down two weekends ago and my college roommate and her husband came down last weekend. Thing is, they're from Ohio, so they pretty much think it's cool to go anywhere in the summer, but they find out real quick that summer in New Orleans is more like a "working" vacation. Working to maintain the energy it takes to have a good time in the intense heat and humidity.
Here is an actual conversation that happened:
College Roommate: "I really want to see the swamp!"
My husband and I: "..."
So what we did is come up with ways to make sure everyone was out enjoying New Orleans, but not, you know, dying of heat exhaustion. Here are a few ways to make visitors happy in the extreme heat:
1. Stick with your local places for awhile. It's inevitable that guests will want to go to the touristy areas, but at least for a little while you can convince them to stick close to home (and your air conditioner) by suggesting the cool local places in your neighborhood. I live in Bywater, so my mom and dad are now huge fans of The Joint. It makes them happy, and it's close to home, so it makes me happy.
Mom and Dad at The Joint.
Another great place is Booty's Street Food, for many reasons, but it's a great place to start the day off right because they have the best coffee in town (no seriously, it's Stumptown) and they also have the best daiquiri in town, as far as I'm concerned, which is called the Bywater Bomber. It's just downright delightful. So you can get things going with the daiquiri, and stay awake in the heat with the coffee. It's win win.
Booty's Bywater Bomber and Watermelon Aqua Fresca.
You can also get one of these amazing watermelon aqua frescas to go to stay hydrated while enjoying some great flavors.
2. There's always something going on in the summer. Actually, I could probably amend that statement and say that year-round, there's always something going on in New Orleans, but in the summer there's a festival pretty much every weekend. My parents were in town for Satchmo Fest and my college roommate, Sara, and her husband were in town for the Red Dress Run/Dirty Linen Night, so there were a lot of built-in things to do and sights to see. And there's really nothing like showing your friends around town while hundreds of people in red dresses (women and men) have swarmed the city.
Dudes in red dresses.
3. Hang out at night. After the sun goes down things get a lot more tolerable around here. Don't get me wrong, it's still humid as hell, but at least the sun isn't beating down on you. The French Market is always fun for visitors to walk through and it's fun to get a pina colada and try on crazy hats and sunglasses, but what's really great is the night art market on Frenchmen Street. There's some seriously cool stuff there and it's a nice place to hang out. Plus, it's a night market, so it's slightly cooler.
Mom and Dad at the Frenchmen Art Market.
4. Air-conditioned restaurants. You'd think this is common sense, but there is a lot of popular outdoor eating to do in this town. Café Du Monde is great, Pat O's is great, courtyard dining is great, but for me, I'd rather not bake in the heat while eating during the day in August and September. What is awesome, however, is getting my friend to try oysters for the first time at Felix's. She loved em.
My college roommate, Sara, slurping down her first oyster.
5. Snowballs. My favorite snowball comes from Piety Street Snoballs. I always get the Vietnamese Coffee with sweetened condensed milk. It's pretty amazing because it's nice and cold and also gives you a nice jolt from the coffee to keep you awake in the lazy heat. They have so many amazing flavors that I keep meaning to try (but can't tear myself away from the coffee) and even cool treats for dogs if you happen to be walking by with your pet.
Piety Street Vietnamese Coffee Snoball
Other ways to stay cool during the hottest months of a New Orleans summer include (but are not limited to): dipping in and out of tourist shops in the FQ for a few minutes at a time because, holy crap, that blast of air conditioner; jumping in the clothing-optional pool at The Country Club with a margarita in your hand; walking along the riverwalk at dusk for prime photo opportunities while trying to catch the slight breeze coming off the river; going to a few museums for culture, learning, history and the sweet cool air; skipping the touristy Bourbon-y drinking/eating combo for a BYOB midnight showing at the Prytania Theater; or just going ahead and drinking several icy hand grenades, after a few you won't care about the heat anymore, or much of anything, really. ;-)