New Orleans Summer Blues (June 25, 2014)
I can’t help but get nostalgic for New Orleans when I think about all the lovely outdoor spaces we enjoy so much. With our mild winters, inspiring springs and tropical fall seasons, sometimes we forget… summer is inevitable.
One of the things I’ve always loved about New Orleans, and the South in general, is the green, green décor of our natural surroundings. We embrace what nature gives us, and it helps define the space we live in, emphasized so often in the architecture around town… balconies – courtyards – back porches… it’s hard to say which are my favorite! How can one choose between the wood planks and columns of a balcony high above the street, ferns and flowering things in pots, ivy crawling up the spindles… a courtyard, with its brick walls and floors, echoes of fountains splashing, dark, secret places behind iron gates and doors… or the downright lazy atmosphere of the back porch (hammock, anyone?)
And we spend as much time and money on these spaces as we do our interiors, because it’s who we are; this is what we do. We are busy, very busy, being grateful for the abundance of nature around us, and we are dedicated to the practice of enjoying it in style.
So why are all the porches, courtyards and balconies deserted right now? Why the layer of dust on the wicker chairs, why the wilting ferns and abandoned clay pots?
Well, it’s June. Late June. Hurricanes are laying low for now, but there’s a palpable weight on the air, thick with afternoon storm clouds, bustling with evening mosquitoes, driving all of us inside for relief from the harshest season of all… SUMMER.
Even here in New Orleans, it’s hard to find a parade in June. Or July. Or August. I haven’t seen spontaneous revelry since school let out. Swimming pools are the only cool relief to the sweltering, humid afternoons.
You won’t see us again until September.
We’ll go to work. We’ll be grateful for air conditioning and the lack of tourists in the streets and we’ll feel sorry for friends with kids who play summer ball… We’ll do what we have to do, and that’s all you can expect of us until fall. We’re just hot and tired, and bored.
But don’t worry. It’s just three little months of misery, then we’ll be all rested up and ready for football season. You may even see us on our back porches, grilling some delicious things and letting kids play in the water hose… in September. When the Saints get suited up for pre-season, that’s the marker. Hot or not, you can feel it in the air when the worst is over, and just like a really bad hangover…
This too shall pass.