How New Orleans kept Cool Before A/C

Data pix.

New Orleans - Summer's here are brutal, but imagine what life was like before air conditioning.

At the Gallier House on Royal Street, you can see how New Orleanians stayed cool in the 1800's!

Before the age of central air, people had to work to keep their houses cool and during the summer months they had to stop the environment from ruining their belongings.

"In New Orleans, late May early June, is when New Orleans housewives would oversee a complete transformation of their homes," says Peter Dandridge who is a curator with the Gallier House.

It started with moving furniture out of the way so they could get to the carpet.

"Once the furniture is gone, bust the seams, take up all the tacks, drag all the strips of carpet to the back, where they will beat them, clean them, roll them and then store them away," says Dandridge.

From there grass mats were brought in and sewn together. Heavy bedding, drapes, and coverings that were useful during the winter, were taken down to allow the house to breathe.

Once the air is moving freely everyone needed to cover all the gold finishing in the house.

"You wrap these because flies on gold cause black specks and pitting. They ruin the finish. Many people are familiar with the term fly spots or fly specks. But, it's actually caused by flies on gold. It actually has to do with their eating and digestive processes," says Dandridge.

Even though your home by the end of the process, the house would usually look haunted.

Don't worry though, no one was having any parties in this heat.

"There's no formal entertaining. No big entertaining is occuring in urban areas during the summer season.It's just too hot," says Dandridge.

The whole process of flipping the home from winter to summer would take a few weeks to finish.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.