Assimilation: White Linen Night

The coolest part of moving to a new place (other than eating their food, of course), is learning their cultural traditions.  Here in New Orleans, there are festivals all the time.  Seriously.  The day I flew in to look for a place to live I was able to catch oyster fest, but I flew out a day before creole tomato fest (total bummer).  Last night was a more unusual tradition: White Linen Night.  White linen was traditionally worn in order to stay cool in the heat down here, and for one night in August, people from all over the city dress in white and flood Julia Street in the arts district.  Gallery doors are opened, the street is closed to cars, local restaurants set up tents, and live music sets the atmosphere.

This festival isn’t something that is frequented by tourists: it’s a long-standing tradition that locals go to for the sake of supporting the arts district.  While walking up and down Julia with my friends Alysse and Roger, I met godmothers, cousins, high school friends, and mother’s best friends just to name a few.

We sweat a lot.  We hydrated.  We saw a lot of really cool artwork.

These mosaic skulls reminded me of a classier version of the taxidermied deer head on my boyfriend’s wall.  But then again, I would feel cheated walking into any building in the state of Maine and not seeing a dead animal.

Mosaic skulls

Mosaic skulls

The following works of art are gigantic, and made by pouring paint in a steady stream at a central point.

The little girl can give an idea of how large these paintings are – pretty cool!

I loved the colors in this one

One of the last galleries we went to was definitely the craziest, with a huge variety of art.  The people pictured are not paintings, but quilts.  The detail was incredible, and the fabrics used were gorgeous:

And the most interesting of the pieces, accompanied by my friends Sarah, Alysse, and I:

Next Saturday, Dirty Linen Night will take place on Royal street in the French Quarter – another street lined with galleries and shops.  Dirty Linen is a tongue-in-cheek parody of White Linen, complete with refreshments: dirty rice and dirty martinis!  I plan to go and well let you know how it is.

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