Red and Dirty
Red Dress Run and Dirty Linen Night set to take over French Quarter Saturday
If you don’t yet know, the au courant togs that must be worn this upcoming Saturday, Aug. 10 need either be rouge of shade or sweaty of armpit. Once again, Red Dress Run coincides with Dirty Linen Night, two of the French Quarter’s annual events that remind New Orleanians, “hey, we’re quirky!” and confuse tourists.
The New Orleans Hash House Harriers, a proud beer-swilling running club, is celebrating its 25th annual Red Dress Run in 2019. The two-mile “run” is really more of a jaunt with a cold one in your hand, but that isn’t what sets it apart from other short road races. Runners of all genders will be wearing their interpretations of “red dress,” which invariably include tutus, cocktail dresses, dowdy school teacher cotton numbers, ball gowns and kilts. To source these frocks, local thrift and consignment stores often create red dress sections to aid shoppers.
Registrants will start their morning at Crescent Park at 9:30 a.m. for beer and camaraderie. The race will begin at 11:30 a.m. from an undisclosed location that will be shared once you register. After the two miles of Marigny and French Quarter streets are covered, runners will return to Crescent Park for the party, which includes lunch, live music and more beverages of the rehydrating and dehydrating varieties.
Today, Aug. 7, is the last day to register in advance online for a rate of $65. Day-of registrations at Crescent Park are cash-only and will be $75.
One of the anomalies that has grown from Red Dress Run is the spectator participants – those who don red dresses but don’t register for the run – far outnumber the actual runners. The run has become a costume event that paints the French Quarter red with thousands of people. In the spirit of inclusivity and being weird together, it doesn’t seem to bother the Hash House Harriers too much. But I’ll take this opportunity to inform (or remind) folks that proceeds from the run benefit small local nonprofit organizations. The Harriers have donated over $1.7 million since 2010 to organizations that support food access, the arts, education, animal rescue, environmental causes and more. I encourage those Red Dress participants who aren’t into the running aspect to make a donation online to truly be a part of that number.
Later in the evening, the crowds of red will thin and be replaced with dingy seersucker and sweat-stained linen, worn the previous week for Whitney White Linen Night. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, Dirty Linen Night will draw art aficionados and plebeians like myself to stroll along Royal Street in the French Quarter, visiting more than 35 galleries and vendors open for the special event.
This year marks 19 for the annual event. After several different organizations running it through its existence, it is once again being directly run by the galleries themselves, specifically, a group of galleries that formed the Royal Street Arts District in 2017.
Stretching from the 300 block to the 1100 block of Royal Street, as well spilling over into a few side streets, Dirty Linen Night continues to evolve. This year tickets will be sold for $20 to cover the wine, beer and hors d’oeuvre provided by the open galleries and shops. They can be purchased in advance online and picked up at Will Call at the corner of Toulouse Street and Royal Street. They can also be purchased the day of the event. There is an official 2019 poster created by young artists Liza and Eva Kliebert of the Kindness Cross Project, as well as a “Talk Dirty to Me” t-shirt available for purchase online.
Whether you wear red, beige or nothing at all (actually, please wear clothes), anticipate some excellent people watching in the French Quarter on Saturday.