Whether you’re a New Orleans local or planning a trip to the Big Easy this summer, Passion Lilie has you covered with a list of our favorite events and what to wear to each one. Read on for a fun and fashionable New Orleans summer guide!
Essence Festival of Culture
June 29-July 3
The ESSENCE Festival of Culture is an annual celebration of Black culture and art that takes place in the New Orleans Superdome. This year’s event will celebrate 50 years of hip-hop with an evening concert series headlined by Ms. Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, and Megan Thee Stallion.
During the day, attendees can partake in free discussions on race, religion, economics, and education. You’ll find outdoor markets with art, jewelry, and clothing celebrating the rich culture developed all over the African Diaspora. Between opportunities for community service projects in New Orleans and seminars, workshops, and tutorials, Essence is a weekend jam-packed with opportunities for connection, personal development, and so much fun.
Our Nautical Navy pants will keep you comfortable in the New Orleans summer heat and transition well from day events to night concerts. Pair with a basic white t-shirt during the day and jazz them up with heels and a top when you head out for the evening. For the fellas, grab a button down shirt for every day of the festival and you’re all set. We recommend pairing with shorts for the New Orleans summer weather.
Go Fourth on the River
July 4, 2023
One of the most exciting nights of the summer for New Orleanians of all ages is the 4th of July! We gather along the historic riverfront to see the Independence Day fireworks that are choreographed to patriotic music. The show is set off from barges that position themselves between the Gov. Nichols Street Wharf and the Canal Street Dock. Download this app to enjoy the choreographed fireworks with music!
Passion Lilie has tons of red, white, and blue options for all of your patriotic holidays and New Orleans summer fun. Some of our favorites for the July 4th festivities are our Badru button dress, shorts, and button down shirt and our Aspen button down shirt and top.
Affectionately known as “The Crescent City’s most delicious summer tradition,” Coolinary is an opportunity to bring locals into restaurants during the slowest part of the New Orleans summer. When it’s too hot for many tourists, our most celebrated restaurants create enticing prix fixe menus to encourage folks to come in and have a seat. We love it because it’s a chance to support our hardworking local restaurant workers AND get a unique taste of restaurants we may not normally try. Check out the list of participating restaurants and their special Coolinary menus here.
Coolinary is an opportunity for a fun night out, and many of the participating restaurants are some of New Orleans’ finest. Check out your restaurant of choice to get an idea of the dress code, but in general, you can’t go wrong with a wrap dress or a button down.
My personal favorite event of the New Orleans summer, White Linen Night, is always the first Saturday in August. Don your best summer whites and join the celebration of art along Julia Street and throughout the Warehouse District. Food and drink are available with a pre-purchased ticket, but it’s not imperative to buy one. Feel free to shop, gallery hop, enjoy live music, and grab drinks along the way. From the twinkle lights to the champagne, this night is truly sparkling, and you’ll see everyone you know in New Orleans. Be sure to wear your Passion Lilie best! We suggest our Alyssa Organic Dress for a cool and pretty take on your White Linen outfit. For the guys, our Sparrow Button Down fits the bill perfectly.
Dirty Linen Night
August 12, 2023
A week after White Linen Night, New Orleanians sport their “dirty linens” (in theory, the clothes they wore for White Linen Night) and head to Royal Street for more gallery hopping and music. Passion Lilie will have extended hours on this occasion so stop by any time before 9 p.m. on Dirty Linen Night!
Anything goes on Dirty Linen Night, but we recommend dressing for casual comfort. Our Slate Stripe Pants and a basic tee make an excellent option for staying cool and looking chic. The Blue Daisy Button Down is perfect to wear for Dirty Linen Night and all of your summer events.
Red Dress Run
August 12, 2023
Who doesn’t love a boozy fun run during the dog days of summer? The New Orleans Red Dress Run is an annual event that takes place on the second Saturday in August. It’s organized by the Hash House Harriers, a New Orleans “drinking club with a running problem,” and all proceeds are donated to local charities. Due to the highly alcohol-forward nature of the run, participants must be 21 and older. The only other rule is that all runners must sport a red dress! The event starts at 2300 N Peters Street and the route travels throughout the neighborhood and trickles into the French Quarter. For the rest of the day, you’ll see people in all corners of New Orleans proudly donning their red dresses.
Passion Lilie has plenty of options for the Red Dress Run, and they’re so pretty you can wear them again and again. These dresses are 100% cotton, so they’ll be breathable even on the most humid New Orleans summer day, and they have pockets for your beer money and ID!
Aug. 31 – Sept. 4
Southern Decadence is New Orleans’ most significant celebration of queer culture – almost like a combination of Mardi Gras and Pride. People from all over the world come to celebrate in the streets – attending concerts, club events, a parade, and more.
Some of the most popular events of the weekend include the Beer Bust at the Phoenix (Friday and Saturday evening), the Bourbon Street Extravaganza at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets (Saturday afternoon), and a Southern Decadence Parade (Sunday) that winds past some of the city’s prominent queer hotspots. You can check out the Ultimate Southern Decadence Guide here. Be sure to stop by Passion Lilie while you’re in the neighborhood!
This is the event that wraps up our New Orleans summer, but you can be sure it’ll still be warm enough to melt outside. Color, comfort, and FUN are the MO for the weekend, and we have just the outfits for you. These dresses are light and breathable, perfect through the end of summer and paired with a cardigan for cooler fall days ahead.
What else is on your New Orleans summer bucket list? We’d love to know in the comments below.