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July/August 2014 Issue

Linen Nights dress up the art scene in New Orleans

There’s a saying in New Orleans that if you think it’s hot now, “wait until August.” But in typical fashion, residents of the Big Easy know to while away the sultry dog days of summer in style with two nights devoted to hot art and cool linen.

In the 19th century before air conditioning, white linen suits and dresses were adopted as official “summer wear” in the Deep South. White linen suits fell out of favor at the end of World War II, but the tradition is revisited every summer in the New Orleans’ Warehouse Arts District during the Whitney White Linen Night. Held on the first Saturday in August, this art walk features live music, art galleries, and museums.

This year’s Whitney White Linen Night is Aug. 2. Many guests wear white outfits as they stroll through the art galleries along Julia Street and adjacent side streets. Scores of galleries along the route offer art for sale as well as complimentary hand-held fans. Cocktails and food are also integral parts of the experience.

The event culminates with a post party and fund-raiser at the Contemporary Arts Center, located at 900 Camp St.

In New Orleans, however, one party leads to another, so on the following Saturday, the Dirty Linen Night on Royal Street in New Orleans also features a celebration of unique artists, galleries, shops, and boutiques. Held on Aug. 9, the celebration takes in roughly nine blocks of Royal Street and adjoining cross streets.

Many of the participating galleries and shops give away dirty martinis and dirty rice (white rice with chicken livers and giblets) and will place laundry baskets outside the participating businesses. The event also features live music, wandering clowns, and other innovative entertainment.

For White Linen details, visit For Dirty Linen details, visit

Linen Night

A sea of white greets visitors at the Whitney White Linen Night. Frank Aymami photo


Big Dam Bridge connects users to fitness and scenery

One of the most beautiful views and one of the most impressive recreational experiences in Arkansas can be found on one of the most unusually named attractions–the Big Dam Bridge.

Connecting Little Rock and North Little Rock in central Arkansas, the Big Dam Bridge is the nation’s longest specially built bicycle and pedestrian bridge. The structure links approximately 20 miles of the scenic Arkansas River Trail in the two cities. Used daily by hundreds of people for fitness, sightseeing, and relaxation, it also has become a popular spot for charity walks, bicycle races, and competitive runs.

Opened nearly 10 years ago, the bridge was built directly into Murray Lock and Dam. During the project, which took eight years from conception to completion and topped $12 million, Pulaski County Judge Floyd “Buddy” Villines playfully called it the big dam bridge, referring to the structure and not the expletive, and the name stuck.

First-time and even frequent users are awed by the bridge’s 4,226-foot length, equal to more than 14 football fields. There are eight observation areas along the bridge, which is 30 feet above the dam, offering a great view of the countryside, nearby Pinnacle Mountain, and the Arkansas River below. At 14 feet wide, the bridge has plenty of room for runners, walkers, and bicyclists.

Among the upcoming events are the Big Dam Bridge Twilight 5K on July 19, and the Methodist Family Health Walk on Aug. 1. The most notable event of the year, however, is the Big Dam Bridge 100 on Sept. 27 with bicycle rides ranging from 15 miles to 100 miles.

For more information, call (501) 340-6800 or click on


Above: The bridge offers stunning views. Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau photo

Below: Hundreds of bicyclists and runners use the bridge daily. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism photo



Remember the Freedom Summer in new exhibit

In the summer of 1964, the civil rights movement shifted its full attention to Mississippi and launched a campaign to register adult voters and educate African-American students about constitutional rights through Freedom Schools.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer civil rights project, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) in Jackson has unveiled a new exhibit, “Stand Up!: Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964,” including a replica school room inspired by photographs of Freedom Schools, the façade of a bombed church, and a photographic gallery.

Drawing on photos, artifacts, documents, and film, the exhibit at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building examines the courage, violence, and promise of the “long, hot summer” when hundreds of northern college students, mostly white, joined with African-Americans across Mississippi to promote civil rights, register voters, and conduct Freedom Schools.

On display through Oct. 31, the exhibit is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.–1 p.m. on Saturday. The Winter Building is located at 200 North St. in Jackson.

Call (601) 576-6850 for details, or visit



Savor summer at Arkansas peach fest

Clarksville has been throwing a party for peaches each summer for 75 years, and through the years, organizers in this Arkansas community have perfected the recipe for fun.

Started in 1938, the Johnson County Peach Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state and celebrates the peach harvest in northwest Arkansas. Held the weekend of July 24–26, the festival features plenty of peach-themed foods, such as peach cobbler, along with a jam and jelly bake-off, a peach seed-spittin’ contest, and a peach pie-eating contest.

In between sampling the delicious fruit prepared nearly every way imaginable–or straight off the tree–enjoy a host of other activities, including a frog jump, arts and crafts vendors, greased pig chases, banana split contest, four-mile run, a parade, and talent contests. A special area for children will feature inflatables and other activities.

Additionally, helicopter tours will offer a bird’s eye view of the city, and much closer to the ground, there will be a diaper derby. For some old-fashioned fun, visitors can participate in an egg toss and water balloon toss. Live music and a street dance will conclude each evening.

Most of the festival’s events take place around the courthouse square, located at 200 W. Main St. Admission to the festival is free. Clarksville is about 60 miles east of Fort Smith.

For more information, call (479) 754-9152, or visit



Shrimp loom large at Louisiana festival

Boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, shrimp sauce piquante, baked shrimp, bacon-wrapped shrimp, coconut shrimp. The list reads like something cooked up by the fictional “Bubba” Blue in the movie Forrest Gump, but the shrimp are the real stars in the annual Delcambre Shrimp Festival, Aug. 13–17.

Located about 20 miles southwest of Lafayette, La., Delcambre is home to one of the area’s most productive shrimp fleets. The town devotes an entire weekend to honor this economic lifeblood with a shrimp cook-off, queens pageants, fais do-dos, food booths, carnival rides, and the blessing of the shrimp boat fleet.

Admission is free except for Friday ($5) and Saturday ($10). The 22nd Annual Shrimp Cook-off is on Saturday, featuring teams whose only requirement is to fix a dish with shrimp as the main ingredient. Cook-off teams sell servings to festival-goers for no more than $2.50.

To reach Delcambre from Lafayette, take U.S. Highway 90 (east) to New Iberia, then go west along Louisiana Highway 14 to Delcambre. The festival grounds are located on the south side of Louisiana Highway 14 and just west of the four-lane drawbridge.

For a listing of events, visit or call (337) 685-2653.


Boats are decorated for the blessing of the shrimp boat fleet. Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau photo

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