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Julia Street
 

Julia Street

White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night
White Linen Night

There are three streets in New Orleans that are widely known for their profusion of fine art galleries but only one of them has earned the nickname "Gallery Row." The first two streets are Royal and Magazine. The third is Julia Street, widely known as "Gallery Row" in the heart of the city's renovated and now-upscale Warehouse Arts District.

More than a dozen art galleries, one after another, line both sides of Julia Street, occupying former storefronts, showrooms and other mercantile establishments that went out of business decades ago. The Warehouse District went into a period of decline but the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair provided a much-needed catalyst to get the district back into commerce again. Old factories were renovated into luxury condos while street-level structures almost magically coalesced into a series of art galleries featuring the works of local and nationally known painters, sculptors and mixed media artists.

One of the earliest tenants to discover the charms and location advantages of Julia Street was the Louisiana Children's Museum, located in the street's 400 block. Founded in the late 1980s the Louisiana Children's Museum houses dozens of fun activities and learning experiences for the little ones, many of which are literally "hands-on." In addition there is often live educational entertainment that comes with the price of admission and many other surprises that are likely to happen on any given day. One of the best and most popular children's museums in the nation, the Louisiana Children's Museum hosts tens of thousands of visitors a year, mostly kids and their parents.

The annual highlight of activity on Julia Street comes on the first Saturday night of August in an event known as "White Linen Night." Begun in the early 1990s as a way to stimulate cultural activity during the normally slow summer months, White Linen Night features open galleries, artists' receptions and live music and entertainment in the middle of the street which is barricaded for four blocks and closed to vehicular traffic. The event has steadily grown in popularity over the years as tens of thousands of visitors flock to Julia Street and the nearby Contemporary Arts Center and Ogden Museum of Southern Art to view and buy pieces of exquisite artistry. Many of those who attend get into the spirit of the occasion by wearing white linen suits or dresses in keeping with a 19th century tradition of apparel designed to keep the wearer cool during the hot summers.

There is also the popular "Jammin' on Julia" event held during the early spring which is similar to White Linen Night but is focused more on live entertainment and dining experiences. But it isn't just special occasions that make Julia Street worth visiting. Every month on the first Saturday night of the month galleries open their doors to the public for the premieres of new exhibits. Featured artists are usually present for these openings which often feature wine and cheese and light hors d'oeuvres. For more information on Julia Street and its activities visit the New Orleans Arts District Association website at this address www.neworleansartsdistrict.com.

 
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