White Linen Night

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Every year the New Orleans Warehouse Arts District plays host to a White Linen Night. Julia Street is, for the evening, pedestrianized and the many art galleries housed along the road stay open until 9pm. Food and drink stalls are set up along the street, but all are purchased using a ticket system – you purchase tickets from the cash stall and then use those tickets like money to buy food or drink. The event is sponsored by Whitney Bank, which is advertised on the to-go cups that light up and flash various colors.

In a call back to the days before air conditioning when people attempted to reduce the effects of the stifling heat by wearing white linen clothing, the dress code of this night of artistic culture is white. Like every event in New Orleans, the locals will jump on any excuse to dress up. Some people looked very sophisticated in carefully styled pure white outfits, and some decided to swap gender roles and make it a costume event. Nonetheless, it was quite a spectacle to see the long street swarming with people all dressed in white.

Some people attend the event just like it’s another themed street party, and make the most of the free-poured vodka cocktails, while others are serious about the art. Having never really explored this part of the city, I jumped on the opportunity to wander through the many fancy galleries that I otherwise might have been too intimidated to venture into. Most of the artwork I came across ranged from $5,000-$15,000, but there were many items which I longed to be able to display in my home.

And what would a New Orleans event be without some live music thrown in? A stage was set up mid-way along the street, showcasing local bands throughout the evening. This being a family event, fathers with daughters and mothers with sons could be seen dancing along amongst the loved up couples and humored partiers.

All in all, it was another spectacular evening in this cultural city.

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Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras Indians

Super Sunday, this year rescheduled due to rain and held on March 30th, is the day on which the Mardi Gras Indians mask and march.

Not to be confused with American Indians, the Mardi Gras Indians are generally composed of residents of African American communities in New Orleans, although their suits do have a tendency to look like brightly coloured American Indian costumes and their tribes are generally named after American Indians in honour of those who provided sanctuary to escaped slaves.

Little is known or confirmed about the origins of the Mardi Gras Indians, although it is believed they date back to the late 1600s.

Historically the marching of the Mardi Gras Indians was a violent affair, with the Big Chief of each tribe challenging the others for respect. Gun and knife fights ensued as tribes met each other. Now the ritualistic warfare is mimicked in dance and song, and Super Sunday is a friendly celebration, with tribes masking and parading in their finary for an admiring public.

Each suit takes thousands of hours (apparently a whole year) and dollars to create. I hope the detail that goes into the beading is evident in this photo.