The Warehouse District, also known as the New Orleans Arts District, has been called the “SoHo of the South,” and every summer the neighborhood hosts White Linen Night to show why it has earned that nickname.
On the first Saturday evening in August, four blocks of Julia Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for a three-hour, New Orleans-style block party. This White Linen Night event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by Whitney Bank, Whitney White Linen Night will be held this year on Saturday, August 1. In the closed-off 300 to 600 blocks of Julia Street, stages are set up for live entertainment featuring some of New Orleans’ top bands.
In addition, there are conveniently situated kiosks where food and beverages from some of New Orleans’ top restaurants and bars are sold. Complimentary hand-held fans given out by the galleries will help keep you cool on this typically warm summer evening.
During the hours of 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. the art galleries on or adjacent to Julia Street will also open their doors to art aficionados and casual strollers alike.
To see the full list of participating galleries, visit the Art District’s website.
Those who turn out for Whitney White Linen Night are encouraged – but not required – to wear as much white attire as they can, and get into the intended spirit of the event. White linen was chosen both for its breeziness and because traditionally, white linen suits and similar attire are not worn after Labor Day. So this is a great excuse to bust it out for a fun event. For those who don’t have white outfits, any light-colored combination will do, but there is no required dress code for the event.
Immediately following the block party, the nearby Contemporary Arts Center, will host its annual Whitney White Linen Night party with live music, refreshments and more art work on display. There is an admission charge for the event, but it is a fun way to keep the evening going after the block party is over. The CAC party usually ends around midnight.
For more information about Whitney White Linen Night and the post-party call the Contemporary Arts Center at (504) 528-3805 or visit their website at www.cacno.org.
The White Linen Tradition
Centuries ago, when New Orleanians who ventured outdoors in the hot summertime had to get where they were going on foot, on horseback or in open carriages, they devised ways to lessen the effects of the summer heat. One of them was wearing white linen clothing. Men wore white suits and hats to reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays, and women wore white dresses and hats for the same reason. This was done for many years until motorized vehicles with air conditioning systems became the primary means of getting around.
Following the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, a massive urban renewal initiative began transforming abandoned and neglected warehouses into lofts, condominiums and – especially – art galleries. In the early 1990s, owners of the art galleries, centered primarily on or near Julia Street, brainstormed about ways to attract potential art buyers into the area. They came up with the idea of reviving the old summertime white linen tradition and the first White Linen Night was held in 1994. Its success took off from there and the event has grown steadily in popularity and attendance ever since.
Over Two Decades of the Same Ownership Ended with Today’s Auction, say Doyle Yeager, co-founder and creator of Oz Nightclub in New Orleans as stated in the following press release from Yeager’s camp this morning.
SALE COMPLETE for Oz Nightclub on Bourbon Street
Over Two Decades of Same Ownership Ended with Today’s Auction
NOLA, July 22, 2015: Oz nightclub Co-Founder and Creator, Doyle Yeager, was unable to successfully stop today’s scheduled auction and sale of the OZ nightclub and it’s assets in bankruptcy court. The nightclub and other corporate assets are to be sold through live auction this morning.
Yeager said that every effort possible had been made to try and avoid the liquidation, and to try and save the nightclub.
Despite the massive amount of footwork that nearly saved the business from being auctioned, it seems no amount of effort could help Yeager save the business. The sad and dramatic conclusion to a tumultuous 22 year partnership of owners will come to an end as the judge reads the name of the new owner of Oz, after the bidding process is complete.
Yeager said he desperately wanted to save the Oz nightclub (at all costs), and to preserve what he feels is a cornerstone of the New Orleans gay community, Oz New Orleans at 800 Bourbon Street.
Yeager said that media reports have continued to incorrectly attribute the cause of the bankruptcy filing to the negligent financial mismanagement of the owners, and the inability of the business to pay the debt. Yeager insists that those reports are entirely false.
“The business is, and has been, capable of servicing all of the debt in the business’s name,“ said Yeager. “The filing of the bankruptcy was voluntary, and was intended to be used as a vehicle for the corporations to investigate the source and purpose of most of the company’s debt.”
The legal battles between ownership distressed the nightclub through the years, and in late 2010, and a third partner joined the ownership structure . But, fundamental differences in each of the owner’s management philosophies created a hostile environment. That dysfunctional ownership relationship, in turn, produced more litigation.
By August 2014, two of the owners agreed that certain questions regarding the corporate assets and debt (which did not appear to belong to the corporation), needed to be resolved. The business also needed more time for the shareholders to investigate the ballooning mortgage (and other debts), which the company had customarily been paying.
It is because of all of the inner ownership strife and legal battles, that the world-famous Oz ended up in bankruptcy court. Even though the business was able to pay all of its debt, the vast majority of the business’s debt did not belong to the company itself, but instead belonged to one of the other owners.
Today, a reminiscent and misty-eyed Yeager is now reaching out to the New Orleans Community who supported Oz for 22 years, and expressing his gratitude to them.
”I am humbled and grateful for all of the support we have enjoyed from our community and our loyal patrons over the last two decades. They were the ones that have made it possible for Oz to become the #1 gay dance club in New Orleans, and a world-wide name brand,” Yeager praised.
“I also want to thank the employees, and the many people in our community who stood behind me through this very stressful process, and who never waivered in their determination to help me get through it and push forward. I feel like I have let them down in some way, but it has been out of my hands since this all started. Even still, I fought all the way up until the end for all of us,” said Yeager.
But where does Yeager see himself going, now that Oz is no longer his sights? “I have a few ideas I have been working on…. just in case,” said Yeager.
“Liquidating a profitable business (that I personally sacrificed for over the last 22 years) was never an option on the table (or even a possibility in my mind), when we started the bankruptcy process,” Yeager said.
“I can only hope that the new owners of Oz have as many good times and special memories from their ownership of the nightclub as I have had from it over the past 22 years,” said Yeager. “I also want to wish the new owners the best of luck in the coming years. Oz is a very special place, and I really hope that they can cherish it and take care of it better than we did.”
“Losing Oz is like losing a child to me. I feel that now there is a part of me missing and that is gone forever. But, I really don’t feel that this part of my life is over yet, and I am thinking about maybe something bigger and better, said Yeager.
“Whatever I do from this point forward, will definitely be something without partners,” Yeager affirmed. “And as always, I will commit my full creativity and energy to make my next venture something that the gay community can be proud of.”
Yeager finished by saying don’t count him out just yet, “You haven’t seen the last of me, or the best of me!”
Yeager will take with him some of his fondest memories of the extravagant parties and decorations that he created for the nightclub……
“NEON CIRCUS 2013” – Oz’s 20th Anniversary Party
“WHITE PARTY 2011” – Easter weekend
“RED DRESS RUN 2012” – August
Information Provide by: Doyle Yeager Shareholder and President La Int., Inc. dba “OZ” Member, 800 Bourbon Street, LLC