POSTED Thu. Feb 6, 2014

The Winter Olympics: New Orleans style.

The Winter Olympics: New Orleans style.
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The Winter Olympics have begun! And I feel like the reaction from the city of New Orleans has been a collective ‘so what.’ I mean, we’re not exactly a Winter Olympiad sort of town, seeing as we lack mountains for skiing and snowboarding and bobsledding, and snow and ice for, y’know anything winter related.

Or so you thought. Herein: the secret Winter Olympiad that you never knew existed within the city of New Orleans.

1 The Space Heater Haul

Our houses are beautiful. Timeless. Drops of loveliness on the canvas of architectural America.

They’re also insulated for shit.

So every year, when it gets cold, the Space Heater Haul begins. It’s a tricky game, seeing as few people have the foresight to purchase multiple space heaters – which, to be fair, feels like a totally irrelevant purchase in a town where it hit the low 80s last December temps. But when the thermometer does dip down and you only have the one heater, then the game is on. Where do you strategically position it? And how quickly can you haul it out of the garage or attic?

2 Blanket tug-of-war

Assuming you don’t have a space heater for each room, what ensues next is the blanket wresting competition, wherein you fight for every available blanket in the house with your spouse, kids, or as the above picture demonstrates, dog. Alright, dog, you can have the blankets. WHO CAN RESIST THAT FACE?!

3 Bobsled (i.e. driving here when it's cold)

Other cities are populated by citizenry that knows how to drive on ice. They also have infrastructure for dealing with ice. They also have public transportation.

New Orleans is almost completely lacking in the first two departments, and sorely wanting in the third – and besides, most of our public transportation shuts in the event of ice. We’re blessed that the city center and many neighborhoods aren’t as unwalkable as many other Southern towns, but still: when the roads ice up here, you best be off them. Lest you want to experience New Orleans bobsledding, which I also like to call, ‘Dodge the Escalade as it barrels at you on the Twin Spans because Donny Boudreaux hasn’t seen ice since his last frozen daq.’

4 Bike riding in the wind (worse than it sounds!)

Biking can be a joy in New Orleans. The city is flat, the architecture is pretty. It can be miserable in the summer swelter, but by far the worst biking experience in town is when it’s cold and the wind is whipping in off the Mississippi. I don’t care if you’re from the deepest frozen hellhole in Minnesota (by the way, that’s another NOLA Winter Olympic event – not punching out the person from somewhere up North who always says, ‘If you think this is cold…’) – when that gale picks up an you’re trying to get somewhere on two wheels…gah. This, friends, is what misery feels like. The worst stretch is anywhere along the river, where the wind comes in relentlessly without the shielding of any city structures. It feels like a dagger in your face. You win the gold medal by biking from Poland Ave to the Riverbend along Chartres, Decatur and Tchoup; you lose by convincing your spouse to let you use the car that day or shilling out for a taxi.

5 The Monkey Hill ski-jump

Monkey Hill isn’t technically the highest point in the city – that honor goes to Laborde Mountain in City Park. It’s also not a real hill. Whatever – it’s about all the elevation we have. So: go to the Monkey Hill bar, get past the guy trying to buy some Loyola law students a drink, down a few, head to Audubon and take a running jump off the hill. Measure, rinse, repeat. Actually, don’t do this. Monkey Hill is a family spot. Compromise: roll around in the grass at The Fly. Boom. I should join the IOC.

6 The Country Club dash

The Country Club is one of the best places in the world. Good food. Good drink. An outdoor area with a pool and a hot tub. And the pool is heated. So it’s great during the winter.

Of course, getting from pool to hot tub when it’s 40 degrees out can be a hassle. So you need to nail that Country Club dash. Points if you do it in the nude, which is totally acceptable in the clothing optional courtyard.

Images courtesy of Confederacy of Cruisers, The Country Club and Audubon Institute.


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