Aug 6, 201012:00 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
All Dressed in White
Because my mom worked at the Contemporary Arts Center when I was a kid, I'm sure I must have attended a lot of White Linen Nights when I was young, but it kind of blurs with a lot of other fancy events I attended against my will as a child: drunk adults, boring chitchat, loud music, trays of cheese cubes and cut-up fruit.
I don’t actually have a clear memory of going to White Linen Night until I was 16, and my best friend Antoine and I got all dressed up in white linen clothes we’d taken from our parents’ closets. Once we were in the Arts District, we managed to sneakily procure glasses of wine from somewhere, and we milled about, drunk in a sea of white and feeling very sophisticated despite how sweaty we were.
I have my own white linen clothes now and can obtain wine through legal means, but other than that, the experience is much the same. I still end the night sweaty and tipsy and feeling very sophisticated.
And as much as the evening offers a high-class taste, like a fine bourbon that you want to sip and savor, because this is New Orleans, it will be followed by a Jack-and-Coke evening next weekend with Dirty Linen Night, a celebration that follows the formality of White Linen Night on to its natural conclusion. Just as every formal evening ends with men sitting around, ties undone, laughing and joking with women tired of their heels and begging to go home, these two nights celebrate the duality of a formal function. (Dirty Linen Night, of course, now has an added twist to it: It coincides with the Red Dress Run, potentially leaving guys in their dirty linen sitting around laughing and joking with other gentlemen who are tired of their shoes and are dying to go home and slip out of such fancy dresses.)
Of all the events throughout the year that have a specific dress code, White Linen Night might be my favorite –– I love white linen despite my distaste for ironing and my propensity for spilling food on myself –– but the irreverence of Dirty Linen Night and the Red Dress Run are certainly a close second. It’s going to be a fun two weekends, folks.
If you see me out at White Linen Night, come say hello. I’ll be the one drinking wine and sweating in a white linen dress.