There’s a big problem with the giant sinkhole that just opened up on Canal Street in New Orleans. Too many people want to party in it.
A 30-foot-wide hole in the Earth opened up in the middle of the street last Friday, a few hours after Mayor Mitch Landrieu toured the area to see just how badly the tunnel underneath the street was leaking. Turns out the answer is, really bad.
Chrissy Gross’s friends were joking about it in a group text this weekend and talking about plans for next week.
Then it came to them, a deep, drunken vision: Sinkhole. Cinco de Mayo.
Sinkhole de Mayo.
“We like costuming. We like any reason to get dressed up in silly costumes. We were even talking about making our own traffic cone piñata,” Gross told The Daily Beast. “We were just gonna laugh and take pictures.”
The problem with naming something Sinkhole de Mayo, however, is that 2,000 people are going to want a crack at that traffic cone piñata.
Alas, that’s the number of people who now say they might show up to a random sinkhole in the middle of a New Orleans road to celebrate Mexico beating the French in 1862.
Gross spent most of Tuesday on the phone with City Hall making sure no fiestas take place inside of a sinkhole on Thursday just because she’d opted not to press “Private” on her event invite on Facebook.
“It’s been a very surreal day,” she said. “It went viral overnight, but I guess I should have expected it. New Orleans loves a party. We love a good satire. We love a good reason to get together to celebrate life. I mean, we have a festival for a goddamn sandwich.”
But the Po-boy Festival is seven months away, after the election and after the nationwide po-boy ban from President Trump’s new FDA commissioner Ronald McDonald. And, seriously, New Orleans does not pass up a shot at a weird party in the middle of the day in the middle of the street.
Having a party around an event the mayor called a “catastrophic failure” just last week is, in fact, the very spirit of the city.
“That was exemplified when the Saints won the Super Bowl. Most cities have riots. We had one of the most major parades of all time,” said Gross. “We celebrate instead of raging.”
She also says the whole thing’s not political or an indictment on infrastructure in the city.
“Whereas yes, it does seem like from the outside, maybe, that sinkholes and rain are an epidemic, it’s not. People are still flabbergasted, but, no, New Orleans is not underwater,” she said. “It’s a wonderful city—and this becoming a huge thing is just an example of it.”
Some people on the event’s Facebook page left comments offering to fly in to go hang out with the sinkhole. One photoshopped a margarita into the sinkhole itself. Others offered body painting services and jello shots.
So Gross had to hang up and work with the city to find a perfect spot for a couple thousand people to hang out sinkhole-side.
A few minutes later, Gross posted the new location on Facebook: Woldenberg Riverfront Park. Some of the faithful were immediately worried.
But don't worry, she wrote, “Sinky will still be in sight.”