Mammas throughout the ages have been saying, “Never air your dirty laundry where folks can see it,” but more recently, New Orleanians added, “except for the Saturday after White Linen Night.” On the first Saturday in August every year, Whitney White Linen Night draws thousands to sweat, drink, and stroll down Julia Street as they view an array of the Arts District’s gallery exhibits. Since 2001, every second Saturday in August, the New Orleans French Quarter offers its own follow up: the more casual, less formal, decidedly whimsical Dirty Linen Night.
Anyone who’s ever tried to drink red wine during or eat a burrito after White Linen Night knows the chances of arriving home in the pristine condition in which you left fall on the probability scale between a New Orleanian rooting for the Falcons and snow in August. Dirty Linen Night plays on this idea, offering a tongue-in-cheek homage to the elegant Central Business District event by allowing casual art lovers a chance to stroll a variety of Royal Street galleries, with New Orleans art ranging from traditional watercolors and sculptures to modern collectibles, costume hats, wigs, jewelry, and more. In keeping with the theme, instead of upper class offerings of wine, galleries entice potential customers in with dirty martinis and dirty rice, and many participating galleries use laundry baskets as props.
This New Orleans art event presented by the Arts Council of New Orleans spans Royal Street from the 200 to the 1000 blocks, with additional participants on nearby side streets. With so much to see on Dirty Linen Night, here are some of the galleries not to miss.
1. George Rodrigue – Two words: Blue Dog. View over-sized images of New Orleans’ most beloved and brightly-colored canine at Cajun artist George Rodrigue’s studio at 721 Royal.
2. Windsor Fine Art – Picasso, Renoir, Chagall, Rembrandt, and Dali. These word famous artist all live here in spirit in New Orleans, co-existing together in one gallery: Windsor Fine Art. For masterpieces by international and local artists alike, this New Orleans art gallery is not to be missed. Windsor Fine Art is located at 221 Royal.
3. Alex Beard – I first discovered Alex Beard in the kitchen of my neighbors’ and wonderful friends’ house. He appeared in the form of a painting of a pig that I still covet every time I see it. Beard focuses on oil paintings, ink drawings and books to tell stories, many of which follow animal themes. The Alex Beard gallery is located at 712 Royal.
4. Vintage 329 – Located at 329 Royal, Vintage 329 brings us back to the “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” of our past, focusing on celebrity signed memorabilia from entertainment, music, Hollywood, and sports legends. What’s that other thing Mamma used to say? Oh, yes: “It’s never too early to to start shopping for the holidays.”
5. Fifi Mahoney’s – Speaking of gifts, if you’re here in the Big Easy, Fifi Mahoney’s is the perfect place to pick up some New Orleans party essentials as a treat to yourself. Perfect for Mardi Gras. Perfect for Halloween. Perfect for any day. Because in New Orleans, you don’t need a reason to put on a costume, wig, eyelash extensions, or costume jewelry, all of which you can get at this fabulously New Orleans boutique. Fifi Mahoney’s is located at 934 Royal St.
Dirty Linen Night
August 10, 2013, 6 p.m.
Royal Street, French Quarter