[Raphael Biscaldi/Unsplash]

Summer Staycation

00:00 July 30, 2013
By: 2Fik

Locals Indulge in the Quiet Season

It’s no mystery why the city’s tourism industry takes a threemonth nap in the summer. New Orleans heat is enough to drive away almost anyone but the cockroaches. But what about the locals? How do those of us who’ve made a home in the humidity spend our time without the fanny-packing crowds to contend with? I asked a few local veterans how they beat the heat and take advantage of the empty streets.

Todd Perley, Filmmaker

“The Saint used to be the ultimate locals’ dive bar. Now it’s become the college hangout—you’d be hard-pressed to fi nd locals there after eleven p.m. on any given night. But in the summer, the Saint becomes like it used to be, free of the Tulane and Loyola crowd. You get the older veterans in there, setting the vibes. I also love that you can go to just about any fi ne dining restaurant without the stress of advanced reservations. Even the oldest and most renowned may have a same-day space open. Feels nice to not have to fi ght so hard to enjoy the city.”

Paul Oswall, Comedian

“The Country Club is the best way to cool off in the summer. It has changed a good bit over the years, and right now it’s somewhere between a gay bar and Bourbon Street, but with water!”

Ray Gruezke, Owner/Executive Chef, Rue 127

“Of course we change up the menu to offer some lighter fare, but otherwise business stays pretty steady. We hardly get any reservations during the summer; people seem to be more spontaneous, so our walk-in numbers increase dramatically. We get a later crowd since it gets dark later, but the main thing that sets the summer apart is getting to close for a week in August!”

Andrew Freeman, Director of Development & Communications at Young Audiences of Louisiana

“What I love about summer in New Orleans is the social freedom—there’s a fracturing of cliques and friend groups with so many people out of town, so you’re far more likely to end up spending time with a variety of people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. People are more spontaneous and open to mixing up their social routines.”

FFFFFF & TunaFist of Sex Party, Rap Ensemble

“We spend the hottest hours of the day inside, using social media to spread rumors and petty lies about people we don’t like and complain about gentrifi cation. We are starting a fashion label called Sex Party so we’ve been spending a lot of time wearing clothes. We are inventing a new summer refreshment by adding sugary fl avor syrup to shaved ice, but we haven’t decided what to call it yet.”

Julie Mitchell, Journalist for portable.tv

“I like the summer for exploring new bars. When they’re empty of the regular crowd I can take a book, read, and have a beer without the social pressure of the typical scene. I also am enjoying trying all the laundromats to fi nd the perfect one.”

Cherie Pitre, Creator/Choreographer, Gris Gris Strut Dance Ensemble

“I love that the Quarter and Frenchmen are emptier in the summer…I don't avoid as many places as I usually do! It’s also a busy time for Gris Gris Strut. You can’t really put on a successful production in summer since so many people are gone, so we start working on our fall theater show, planning and preparing for September. I also run dance workshops and auditions over the summer—the time of summer gives potential dancers more time to get accustomed to my style of choreography.”

Jeremy Horn, Producer at Gameloft

“To me, the hot, hot summer is a good time for excuses. Especially when my life is really busy. Good excuse not to go running after 9am. Good excuse to relax, since you are forced to stay indoors. Life starts after 5 or 6 p.m.; anything before that is “too early to go out”. You can fi nally go visit a museum or see a show. But it’s also a better time for partying. Kids are out of town, and one can just go to a club to fi nally let loose after a quiet day.”

Brett Labauve, Creator of Bouffant Bouffant, Fashion/Design/Party Machine

“I enjoy that the community becomes a bit more sparse, but everyone still comes together to have a good time per New Orleans’ usual. It's almost a "locals only" feel, although I don't mind tourists a bit. You form a certain bond with the diverse group of friends that frequent the late-night dance parties, bars, social gatherings, etc. You see the same people suffering the heat to run a simple errand or just going out for lunch. We're in this together, New Orleans summer warriors: Summer Death Squad, as some close friends have deemed it. Seventy-fi ve people packed in a tiny dive bar, soaked in sweat, dancing until 6:00 a.m. The disregard is beautiful. “

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