When my parents bought their first air-conditioned car in the ‘50s, it sat in the driveway beside another, older vehicle that lacked that amenity. Who drove off in which depended on who got there first.
Their Boston terrier, Yogi, was a savvy little canine who figured things out fast. He loved to go riding with either of them, but passed up the chance, heading back into the house with a disappointed air, when the AC car had already left the driveway.
I was used to hot summers when I moved to New Orleans from south Mississippi. But not to the humidity here. When Bobby Anding and I got married in 1959, we lived in one side of a double shotgun on Walmsley Avenue, and I was shocked to see the fuzzy, grayish-green mildew on shoes I’d stored in the tiny closet.
There was an air-conditioning unit in the window of our bedroom, which had French doors opening into the living room. We fixed supper in the kitchen under the minimal breeze of a little electric fan, and then ran with our trays to the front of the house.
A general assignment reporter for The States-Item in those days, I had to be out in the heat a lot — either walking in the CBD or riding in taxicabs with no AC if the assignments were further afield. I remember sliding across plastic seat covers almost too hot to touch. I often felt like that young woman in a “Twilight Zone” episode, who’s trapped in her sweltering apartment as the Earth moves closer and closer to the sun for some reason or another.
I got to thinking about this the other day when the New Orleans Advocate forecast a week of 92-degree temperatures here, and wondering why people from cooler climes bother to visit in the summer.
Researching on the internet, I found that Laura Motta of ShermansTravel has some advice for those who do, and figured that sauce for a tourist can be sauce for an Orleanian.
Good advice for everybody when they’re away from air conditioning, which was unusual enough when I came to town to be advertised with bragging signs out front by the entrepreneurs who’d installed it.