The rebuilding of Bourbon Street began just over three months ago but already is at least two months behind schedule, officials said Tuesday.And to think people were skeptical that something like the "Shock Pole" could exist.
One reason has been heavier than usual rainfall. Another is major problems discovered underground: sewage lines connected to drainage pipes, drains leading into electrical conduits and other issues encountered in trying to update the utilities under the city's most famous entertainment-oriented street.
Wait a minute, Jeff, what the hell is a Shock Pole? Well you probably missed Episode 35 of Hunkerdown. (No big deal. Plenty time to catch up. The show won't be back to regular recording until Alli gets back from vacation, at least.) Anyway, there's this longstanding urban legend about a place in the French Quarter where thrill seekers can hold onto some poorly grounded piece of electical equipment and also to a nearby metal pole and receive a tickle of electricity. People have talked about this for years but not many know exactly where it is supposed to be.
Because Varg brought it up on the show, we were lucky to receive a tip from a listener who pointed us to a pay phone situated halfway down the 300 block of Chartres Street. So one night, we went to check it out. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found the pay phone had been recently removed. (Hey it's 2017, you know.) So we weren't able to perform the precise test we would have liked.
However, the post where the phone had been was still there. The phone and its housing had been cut away leaving a hollow pole and, two exposed wires. So, in the name of science, one of us (I won't say which. Just assume it was the stupid one) decided to touch the wires together, you know, just to see. The resulting loud pop and bright blue spark, thankfully, didn't injure anybody but it did give us a start. And it leads us to conclude that the Shock Pole, even if it doesn't exist anymore in quite the form it once did, is still a very plausible rumor. I like to think the mess they're finding under Bourbon Street now only adds to its credibility.