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Out Cold: A New Orleans Sleeping Bag Drive

My friends and family members from the northern parts of the country have started migrating south for Mardi Gras festivities. These are people from places such as Poughkeepsie, New York, where frigid wind howls across the Hudson in the winter time, and from a small fishing village outside of Cleveland, Ohio,  where sometimes patches of Lake Eerie will freeze solid. So a few winter days in a subtropical climate should be doable for them. No complaining warranted, right?

Wrong! I’ve frequently heard the cold here described in a unique way, as a wet cold – a sneaky freeze which likes to crawl under pant legs and burrow into pores like an icy varmint. Needless to say, our Yankee pals have been yowling incessantly about the cold, and my misery has been reaffirmed.

When New Orleans is chilly, our poorly insulated shotguns transform into iceboxes, and a substantial amount of people, who come to the city seeking warmth, aren’t able to find it. This extends well beyond the whining in our dark living room to the shivering of people huddled together underneath overpasses. That’s why I’m proposing what a New Orleans sleeping bag drive. Why? Because sleeping bags are one of those things in life that are abundant but rarely enjoyed.

Though the cold weather sparked the thought, a sleeping bag is going to be a valuable asset for people on the streets regardless of the season. We also plan to pair each bag with an information pamphlet explaining how to navigate the city’s homeless shelters – what I hope will be a nice step toward informing more people living on the streets of their options.

So, if you don’t have plans for your 30-year-old daughter’s kitschy New Kids on the Block sleeping bag or if that swanky nylon taffeta shell from your gap year only exists to take up closet space and collect dust, feel free to put it to use by bringing it to Ace Hardware (8338 Oak St. – this location only!), or shoot an email to sleepingbagsnola@gmail.com to have someone collect yours. 

Care to get more involved? Great! You can help by passing the word along to friends or join us every Monday to make informational pamphlets, write encouraging messages and drink hot cider with a fun group of people. You can track our progress by following us on Twitter @Travelblogue or by liking the Travelblogue page on Facebook.

Sure Mardi Gras falls early this year, but with your help, we can make this the warmest carnival season yet.

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