There is a point in the springtime when the heat index starts to rise and the temperate, comfortable days of April and early May begin the oppressive march toward the high heat and high humidity of summer. The days when a fan seems adequate to cool a room start to slide into a succession of sticky, moist days when only air conditioning, a cool iced tea, lemonade or a cold treat like a snowball offer any respite from the relentless heat. This is New Orleans after all. Louis Armstrong's jazz standard "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" and George Gershwin's "Summertime" suggest a laissez faire attitude by most folks down here. That attitude might well be attributed to the high heat and humidity that abounds here starting in May and which lasts until October or later. When one moves from an air conditioned building into the outdoor heat, the rush of hot air is almost overwhelming. Eyeglasses immediately fog and an automobile seems more like an oven than a mode of transportation. Yet for all of these minor annoyances there is little doubt that few of us would exchange that indominable heat for any of those snowbound days of winter the northern folk face with snowblowers, scrapers and shovels in hand. Ah, yes, the dog days of summer are nearly here, but thank goodness for that heat. It makes me appreciate what passes for winter down here all the more and I look to the fall for relief from the onslaught of summer. As near as I can figure it, that should be sometime around Halloween.