White Linen Night

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans white linen night
Photo courtesy of Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans on Facebook

Back in the days before air conditioning, New Orleanians kept cool and looked fresh in the face of August swelter by wearing light-colored linen clothing. Back in the days before White Linen Night, local art galleries felt the pinch of the August tourism slow down. In order to combat said slow down, and to showcase local summer fashion, White Linen Night was created (Hancock Whitney is the title sponsor). Art galleries and restaurants in the Arts/Warehouse District throw their doors open for a night of wine, art showcasing, dining, and more wine — plus modeling of, naturally, the latest in white-linen fashion.

The event, held on Saturday, August 3, this year, has several components that showcase local art and provide plenty of opportunities to eat, dance, drink, and stroll in the New Orleans’ Arts District. One of the main features is a free block party and an open house for galleries on the 300-700 blocks of Julia Street in the Arts/Warehouse District, with three stages for live music and dozens of food and drink stands. About 20 galleries on and around Julia St. will be open to the public, with an after-party traditionally held at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). As the name suggests, participants are invited to wear white.

This year, the White Linen Night celebrates 25 years of community building and art showcasing, so the party will be kicked up a notch with special events, giveaways, and more. The free Julia Street block party runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be gallery giveaways, live music, art installations, food, and lots more. You can get food and drink tickets onsite or online ($12 for 10).

The CAC Cool Down Lounge is returning this year, providing a VIP-level respite from the heat, private bathrooms, and food and drink. Tickets usually sell out pretty quickly, so get yours soon ($50).

Every year, the CAC hosts its Open Call Exhibition in conjunction with White Linen Night. The showcase features the works of local artists. This year’s theme is “Identify Measures,” and the opening reception starts at 5:30 p.m.

The annual CAC “Party After Dark” celebration follows the block party of Julia Street. It’s the official after-party of the White Linen Night. It’s held at the CAC’s Camp Street Warehouse, 8 p.m. to midnight. This year’s party features DJs and a Drag Experience presented by Vinsantos and New Orleans Drag Workshop, plus a premium cash bar and light bites. Tickets are $10 in advance, and $20 on the day of the event (free for the CAC members).

You can check out this guide to see which galleries are participating. Remember, the block party is free, though you’ll have to get tickets to buy food and drinks. The event is usually really well attended, so parking is limited, though there’s some street parking as well as the paid parking lots in the area.

So, don your best white linen and brave the heat to support the CAC and the Arts District New Orleans as they celebrate 25 years of this unique event!

For more information, visit the Hancock Whitney White Linen Night website.