Hunker Down New Orleans
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 11:09
To “hunker down,” is the piece of advice that our local radio so eloquently chose to bestow upon us in our time of need. I’m sure that in a category four or five hurricane, “hunkering down” could take on a much different definition, but for me it meant a pretty damn good time.
I enjoyed the ignorant bliss of being a first time hurricane “victim.” I was excited in my anticipation of the storm, and it would have taken a case of life or death proportions to convince me to duck out of the city.
Admittedly, the aftermath of the storm was not a walk in the park. In fact, sleeping sans A/C in the New Orleans summer heat is quite dismal. But aside from the last quarter of my experience, the first 75% was a time worth having and a storm worth surviving.
Our storm rations consisted mainly of booze and then a random assortment of tasty snacks. If we had been in actual trouble, our food supply would not have been ideal, but it was ideal for consecutive hurricane partying.
Lazy afternoons of hanging out on the porch with friends watching the storm creep in, eating all of the food entirely too early, laughing at our tiny dog as he tried to stand up straight in the storm’s wind, heading out to multiple house parties in the evening, and kicking back blasting music in the wee hours of the night are snippets of my hurricane experience.
Until, of course, the brunt of the storm passed, taking along with it our power and the last waning hours of our hurricane fun. Without the luxury of escaping from heat goes the ability to relax, be patient, friendly or to exhibit just about any virtue that humans live by within a community.
Not all was lost, though. The local bars slowly started to open up, bringing an escape from the hot houses that were growing a distinct musk from the lack of air flow. But, if you could make it through the sweltering afternoons, the nights brought a strange kind of excitement.
Bars like Le Bon Temps, Miss Mae’s, Snake and Jakes and the Bulldog opened their doors without power to the sweaty New Orleans civilians. The streets were dark and creepy, but it brought about a sort of camaraderie that can only be found in New Orleans.
Sporting my Dirty Coast shirt with a picture of an A/C unit and the definitive word “Savior” written under it, I soldiered on through the tumultuous time with the rest of the NOLA community. “Hunker down” we did, and we did it with grace. Now life is beginning to go back to normal and our city doesn’t have too many scratches to show for it. I must say that coming out of an experience like this makes me proud to call myself a New Orleanian.
Zach Lund can be reached at