If you didn’t get enough local art the first time around, why not go back out for another tour of the New Orleans art scene the next Saturday—possibly even in the same dirty clothes you wore out the weekend before? It may sound strange, but that’s exactly what the founders of Dirty Linen Night had in mind.
Named in honor of the White Linen Night art gathering held the weekend before in the Warehouse District, Dirty Linen Night quickly became its own New Orleans institution after its founding in 2001. This free, seasonal celebration features art galleries and shops in and around Royal St in the French Quarter and is held the second Saturday of August, this year Aug. 9th, from 6 to 9 p.m. The party mainly centers around the 500 to 1000 blocks of Royal St as well as the 500 block of St. Peter and St. Ann Streets and the Dutch Alley Artist Co-Op at Dumaine and Decatur Streets.
The streets are closed off to traffic (as Royal St often is during the day) and the entire area becomes a pedestrian mall complete with shop and gallery owners hanging around their doors beckoning visitors to come inside and have a look around. Some offer dirty martinis and even dirty rice (a Cajun-style white rice with chicken livers and giblets) just for the occasion, as well as wine and other refreshments. You might even see live musical acts, wandering clowns and mimes and other unique flourishes of culture to complement the evening.
Royal St is a street that is not as well-known as Bourbon St, its raucous French Quarter neighbor, but its beauty and serene architecture is prevalent in films and TV shows all the same. It is a frequently photographed street filled with shops and galleries that feature native and transplant artisans and craftspeople of varying trades, all with quaint shops with simple wooden signs that hark back to the city’s vibrant history.
You’ll see all of this and more on your stroll up and down Royal St during your next visit to Dirty Linen Night this coming August. Mark the date on your calendar, and get ready for a memorable night of art and culture at New Orleans’ Dirty Linen Night.