Warming Up Through a Night in the Cold

Winter is coming.

Though we are currently basking in our brief temperate glow, I can’t help but think of the seasonal suffering to come. Sorry, I just subscribe to the Yiddish “it could always be worse” doctrine.

Experience has been a hard teacher. We ask for a whimper of a hurricane season, and we get a dried-out Mississippi. Another (undoubtedly Yiddish-approved) lesson there: always be quite specific with your prayers!

Even when they’re not flooding and rending and generally destroying, weather patterns are whispering.

And all I hear is the voice of old Father Winter.

My premature shivering may be a response to my day-to-day schedule. Membership on the Law Review comes with all the rights and privileges behind the punch-button-combination office door. Think: operational staplers and accessible minifridges and a pre-Katrina microwave.

You just have to wade through the Costco milk section to get there.

Our between-seasons thermostat ranges from 64–68° these days, but the forecast is even colder: as I sit shivering under my three outer layers—scarf knotted over my ears in a style only describable as “Central European goes to the market”—I know winter is coming.

There are some things a desktop sun emoji and 70° text can’t teach. For real truth, head to a cinderblock igloo, and pack for the future.

Admittedly, I can be a bit down-thermostat dramatic (though that might just be the space heater now talking). These whiffs of winter, though, send a chill up my spine not just because of my day-to-day schedule but also because of my big-event calendar. In two weeks, I’m signed up to sleep outside.

Like, on the ground—and not on another glamping trip.

Like, out in the cold.

Usually, such madness is contained to Mardi Gras—and then, I have over-zealous Parks & Parkway employees and over-hydrated Tulane frats to keep the blood flowing.

But this November sleepout is something I’ve always wanted to do, mainly because I read about it in the newspaper (print has that power over me).

Every year Covenant House (the red-bricked obstacle between Basin St. and the French Quarter, committed to serving juveniles experiencing homelessness) has a “Sleep Out.” Over 200 folks in the community sign up to get a taste of what segments of our unhoused New Orleanians experience every day. With the exception that, after our November 18 wakeup call, we’ll still have our wallets (and other earthly possessions) still intact.

Sleep Out participants raise money and awareness of the needs in our midst—and you can certainly help Loyola’s group!

But more importantly, pray for a heatwave.

Oh, ok, no, that’s not “more importantly”—the whole getting a taste of homelessness and being support for topical solutions, that’s most important.

But proper functioning UnderArmour is a close second.

So, enjoy this nice weather. Dance in the sun. Roll down those windows. Just know, winter is coming.

November 18th is, too.

The time to warm up through a night in the cold.


It probably doesn’t take a cold night to reflect on homelessness. But it does take some thought. Meet Magic in this 2010 interview.

Digital Sponsors

Become a MyNewOrleans.com sponsor ...

New Orleans Magazine FOOD CUBES!

Want to know what to eat while headed to the Festival Stage or sitting under the tree at the Gentilly Stage? Get the New Orleans Magazine "Food Cubes" sent directly to your email for FREE!

Unlock the New Orleans Magazine FOOD CUBES!

Cubes sent straight to your email!

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.