OK, class, now that Winter Storm Leon is history, what have we learned?
Here’s an overview. Pay attention, there may be a test:
1. About that name
Other than folks on the Weather Channel, I didn’t hear people calling our cold spell “Leon.”
Down here, Leon won’t have nearly the impact of names like “Camille” or “Andrew” or “Katrina.”
2. Giving thanks
There was a lot of hunkering down, but folks in south Louisiana got out of it pretty well. There is a lot to be thankful for — mostly that we don’t live in Atlanta.
3. Comfort food, anyone?
A highly unscientific survey from emails, snail mail and social media posts that crossed my desk reveals that the most popular comfort food during our confinement was gumbo — with chicken and sausage barely beating out seafood.
Chili was next, followed by vegetable soup and chicken and dumplings.
Some hardy souls even grilled outside — or claimed to.
4. Liquid assets
In addition to comfort foods, my readers and Facebook friends took in a considerable amount of beverages during days at home.
Somewhat surprisingly, hot cocoa was the leading drink mentioned, followed by latte.
Margaritas were next — Tammy Anders Smith said (and a number of readers agreed with her) that while salt on the roads may be called for during icy weather, she prefers her salt around the rim of a glass. (Full disclosure — she’s my daughter).
Ranking third in popularity was Crown Royal whiskey, which my friends who drink tell me is a popular Canadian whiskey.
5. Life imitates art
Speaking of salted roadways, Marsanne Golsby posted a Facebook picture of her pouring a cup of salt on her sidewalk.
It was eerily similar to the cover of Jan. 27 New Yorker, which showed a French chef sprinkling a pinch of salt on the icy sidewalk in front of his café.
6. Getting silly
Speaking of Facebook, my site was filled with photos of snowmen — dressed in Carnival gear, Saints outfits etc.; kids making snow angels in our paltry snowfall or jumping on icy trampolines; kids (and adults) sliding down hills on cardboard or plywood etc.
Russ Wise, of LaPlace, told of plans to bottle the cold weather and open it in mid-July.
But the silliest item, and one I got the most, was a photo of actor Christopher Walken in the snow, captioned “Walken in a Winter Wonderland.”
7. Special delivery
In the “Tooting Our Own Horn” category is this note from Ken Shutt: “The recent winter weather shut down most Baton Rouge businesses. One notable exception was newspaper home delivery. I received my copy of The Advocate every morning during the freezing weather.”
And Geary Vance offers “Kudos to the dedicated employees and delivery people at The Advocate. The government closed, schools shut down, concerts were canceled — even the CATS bus service stopped.
“But every morning bright and early my daily newspaper was waiting for me at the end of my driveway. Well done!”
8. Sneaux day
Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, passes along “an extremely accurate local view on our recent weather from my niece, Connie McLeod, posted on her blog: conniemcleod.wordpress.com:”
Connie said: “The only way we know how to deal with ice in south Louisiana is to put it in our drinks.
“No one thinks twice over our tradition of drive-through daiquiri shops.
“We apparently all know that you can drive with one hand holding your frozen drink and the other hand on your steering wheel.
“But let one snowflake (or sneaux as we call it here) float in the air and we go crazy.”
That’s the word Terri Karam Willett used in her note to “family and friends from the true winter climates” to explain what was going on down here:
“Please excuse the momentary hysteria we are experiencing in the Deep South … We yawn and prepare for hurricanes, 100-plus-degree weather, West Nile-infected mosquitoes and spring floods like pros.
“But a day or two with freezing rain, ice and snow sends us to the moon! We run around like hyperactive Chihuahuas as we seek the last loaf of bread at the supermarket and scurry about furiously to cover precious plants and wrap outside faucets.
“This weather is foreign to many of us … It will give us memories of a lifetime … ‘Remember the Winter of ’14?’
“So pardon us, please, for appearing to be maniacs. We know you live through this every year. We’re rank amateurs and we know it.”
10. Sleepytime down south
Many of the couples I heard from said they were using the shut-in days to get in some naps. The words “nap” and “snuggle” and “cuddle” were used often.
So I wonder — nine months from now, will we see a spike in the birth rate?
And if so, how many of the baby boys will be named “Leon?”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.