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White Linen vs. Dirty Linen: What’s the Difference?

Your guide to the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night.

Whitney White Linen Night (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Every year, late in the summer when the days are long and balmy, New Orleans gets dressed up.

Hancock Whitney White Linen Night on Saturday, Aug. 3 encourages guests to don crisp white clothing (linen is encouraged, though not required, for its breezy Southern flair; the white coloring helps reflect the sun’s rays) and peruse art galleries along Julia Street in the Warehouse District. Strollers attending the event receive complimentary handheld fans, all the better to allude to an era gone by. The throwback scene is just a front, though: White Linen Night features live entertainment, food, and all the ingredients of a modern-day block party.

And then, you can get dirty. Dirty Linen Night on Saturday, Aug. 10 is the cool kid sister to White Linen Night’s pomp and circumstance. Come as you are (the idea is to wear your white linen from the previous weekend, now that it’s good and dirty) and stroll through the French Quarter on Royal Street at this casual art event – shopkeepers also tend to give away free dirty martinis and dirty rice.

Check out the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night in our handy info graphic:

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White Linen vs. Dirty Linen. Illustration: FSC Interactive

White Linen vs. Dirty Linen

Infographic text below

Crisp and clean or down and dirty? Both White Linen Night and Dirty Linen Night are free, art-centered block parties, but there are some notable differences…

Where Y’at

Julia Street. An artsy hotspot in the Warehouse District with an extensive list of gorgeous art galleries.

French Quarter. The city’s historic epicenter, brimming with centuries-old buildings and plenty of revelry. 

Sartorial Stipulations

White Linen Night: A pure white t-shirt, a little white dress – just make sure it’s bright and white and preferably spotless. Linen is the preferred material for its breeziness, but it’s more about palette than fabric.  

Dirty Linen Night: Whatever you wore to White Linen Night now that it’s good ‘n’ dirty, or whatever you can find in the bottom of your laundry basket. Anything goes. Funk it up! 

Sidenote: There is no required dress code for the events, but playing along is always encouraged. 

Preferred Beverage

White Linen Night: Wine. Can you guess which color? Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Champagne – it’s all welcome at white linen.  Martinis are another worthy option. Speaking of…

Dirty Linen Night: Martinis. Shaken or stirred, that’s up to you. Just make sure they’re dirty.

What to Eat

White Linen Night: There are plenty of food vendors to choose from, but plan to eschew any red gravy. 

Dirty Linen Night: Eat what you wanna! Some shop owners even give away free dirty rice.

Dance Moves

White Linen Night: Live entertainment will dictate the dance moves, but keep it refined, people! You’re dressed in all white everything, after all.  

Dirty Linen Night: A bit of tasteful dirty dancing only makes sense. Have the time of your life…

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