Where have all the pools gone? Part III
In Part I of Where have all the pools gone?, I emphasized the locality of pools in New Orleans. I argued that visits to pools in this city always involve implicit understandings that you’re at pools in, well, New Orleans. While I stand by my original premise that New Orleans pools cannot be mistaken for tropical resorts, I should say that, in certain instances, they can resemble college spring breaks.
In all honesty, I’ve only been on spring break once; it was neither on the Jersey shore, nor in Cancun. However, I’ve witnessed examples of both in episodes of MTV’s Spring Break, and we all know real life and MTV are the same thing.
I’d been to the W’s adult swim day once before this past weekend -- last year. The weather was spotty (read: normal for New Orleans’ summers) -- 15-minute intervals of alternating patterns of sunshine and torrential rain.
After 15 minutes of performing a hybridized (and attractive) version of the Texas two step and musical chairs, I surrendered to weather and sat on a damp towel, beneath a pool-side awning, waiting until I’d finished my $8 bottle of Abita Amber, which, at that point, was both tepid and watered-down from the rain. Ironically, I’m glad that beer had cost me twice as much as it should have, because what ensued was great people watching.
The niche that populates the W pool on adult swim day is an exotic species, ecologically classified as fratius sidera or, in layman’s terns, "frat stars."
Wait, is a frat star an endangered species? If you’d asked me a year ago, I would said no. However, since I've graduated college, the species has been dying out (and acquiring jobs).
Members of the fratius sidera travel in packs. You can spot them by their neon manks (man tanks) and Ray Ban sunglasses (don’t worry, if it’s overcast, they’ll sport them, regardless).
How does the unpredictable meteorology of New Orleans affect the species’ behavioral patterns, you ask? Well, it doesn’t.
While I huddled in a corner, like a wet rat that had been defeated by majestic sewer rapids, the party at the W pool raged on. Overbuilt men in camo swim trunks (who I assume tan at the same salon the Oompa Loompas frequent) alternated between downing shots of Patròn and pumping iron in the pool-adjacent gym. The women just shot the Tequila. In short, the W pool species is to partying what cockroaches are to natural and/or nuclear disasters (i.e. they’re survivors).
While it didn’t rain on my visit this year, the atmosphere was fairly consistent with that of last summer (although people did appear to separate their pool time from gym time this year).
Here are the basics:
Atmosphere/ Service: The ideal demographic for the W’s adult swim day is specific. If you want to read or relax, or if you’re still recovering from the night before and the smell of liquor makes your stomach churn and the sound of a thumping bass feels as though a small team of NOLA road workers are "repairing" (aka haphazardly tearing apart) your skull, this pool is not your place.
However, if partying at JAX until 3 AM the night before was too mild, or if you happen to find yourself wandering around the CBD, fist pumping at 10 AM, you might as well head over to the W.
Pool : The W pool itself is pretty fantastic -- on a rooftop, with sprawling views of the CBD, an abundant reserve of cushy cabanas, and a DJ.
Food/ Drink : Did I mention $8 beers? The cocktail menu is equally as steep -- cranberry juice, a splash of vodka, soda water, and a plastic martini glass for $12. I’ve heard rumors of a small-bite menu; didn’t see it, but it exists.
The W opens up its rooftop pool every Sunday from 11AM - 5PM, until. No cover fee. Frat tanks recommended but not required.
Chelsea Lee is managing editor at NolaVie. Email comments to her at [email protected]