The Warehouse District block party is a little bit of both those things — mostly because the weather this time of the year is almost always 1,000 degrees, and the crowds can be massive — but you can have an enjoyable experience if you know how to do it right. Take heed of these tips before heading out tomorrow, or else you might wake up the next day to find you've purchased a $4,000 oil painting in the midst of a heat-induced blackout:
1. Don't freak out about your outfit. The seemingly specific dress code of the event may seem intimidating, but it's usually interpreted liberally among attendees. The dress tradition dates back to New Orleans' pre-air conditioning times when people wore the cool, light-reflecting fabric in order to avoid killing themselves and everyone around them. If you have no white linen in your closet, light, summery fabrics will do — it really doesn't matter, since as soon as you get there you're going to wish you weren't wearing any clothes, anyway. Just don't do that thing where you wear black to be funny, because that's silly.
Also, I strongly advise against last-minute shopping for white clothing. I promise many others will be out doing the same thing, and you'll just end up weeping in the sale section of Urban Outfitters by the end of your excursion.
On a related note, a Tide bleach pen is your best friend.
2. Parking in the Warehouse District will be an issue. Get a cab, take the streetcar or do what I did last year: park in the Lower Garden District, grab a go-drink from the nearest bar (like the Bridge Lounge or Rusty Nail) and take a leisurely stroll to the Julia Street festivities.
3. Don't be a dummy. Treat White Linen Night like it's a fancy Girl Talk concert: stay hydrated, eat beforehand and be prepared to sweat (but don't drunkenly gyrate on that gentleman in the seersucker, because this isn't actually a Girl Talk concert). There will be food and drink booths along Julia Street, but lines will be long so don't show up starving and thirsty — that hand-held paper fan they give isn't going to keep you from fainting if you're out in August heat on an empty stomach.
Be sure to enjoy yourself and don't die of a heat stroke, because you still need to figure out what you're going to wear for next weekend's Red Dress Run.
Click here for the list of White Linen Night gallery openings and other details.