White Linen Night
Where else but New Orleans would someone decide that the middle of the August heat would be a great time to have a combined street party and art gallery stroll? White Linen Night has been a summer tradition since 1994, with art and party lovers converging on the Arts District en masse in response to gallery owners opening their shops into the evening, with free admission to anyone who wants to visit. What is supposed to be a 3 hour block party often continues well into the night in the surrounding bars and restaurants, but I would recommend having reservations if you decide to dine at any of the more popular spots.
There are private parties held throughout the Warehouse District as residents welcome their friends, clad in traditional summer white clothing that’s designed to beat the heat, before heading to Julia Street for live music, food and tours of several blocks of galleries.
As the event has grown in popularity, the crowds can sometimes be crushing and the lines to tour galleries are slow moving since art was meant to be taken in slowly and savored, not run through like a relay race. Generally, this means that you won’t be physically able to tour all of the galleries, so plan ahead to be sure you see your favorites.
Don’t forget that anytime you have thousands of people converging on one area of the city, parking can be an issue. Consider arriving early for a space in one of the public lots or taking a cab or the streetcar to the event.
This year, White Linen Night is Saturday, August 4th. The street party is free from 6-9 pm, and there is a ticketed after party at the Contemporary Arts Center.