Your guide to White Light Night 2021

This Friday, Nov. 19, the White Light Night arts festival returns to Mid City’s arts and cultural district. Local businesses, artists, craftspeople and musicians will come together along Government Street and parts of Jefferson Highway and Mid City to celebrate creativity in Baton Rouge. 

The event, led by the Mid City Merchants Association, sees local businesses such as The Pink Elephant Antiques, Mid City Mercantile, Electric Depot and many more keeping their doors open late to collectively host more than 200 arts vendors and various musical performances. And, of course, there will be lots of food and drinks served by area restaurants and pop-ups, some offered exclusively for White Light Night. 

Mid City Merchants Association President Justin Lemoine says the event presents an invaluable opportunity to explore the unique character of Mid City. 

“The Mid City corridor is an art and cultural district as designated by the state of Louisiana,” Lemoine says. “So this event is to celebrate arts and small businesses in the community and just to showcase the high quality of culture that exists in Mid City.”

And, with COVID cases finally on the decline and the Louisiana mask mandate officially lifted as of October, this year’s White Light Night will look much more like it did pre-pandemic. While hand-washing, sanitizing and social distancing are all still encouraged, those attending the festival can do so largely free of last year’s anxiety. The only remaining restriction, Lemoine says, is that there won’t be any trolleys to ferry folks through Mid City—but they plan to have them back next year. 

With so much going on at this sprawling festival, it can be hard to know where to start. 225 has prepared a list of some of the can’t-miss highlights of this year’s White Light Night. Be sure to check out the Mid City Merchants website for a map of all participating businesses. And tell us where you’re heading on White Light Night at [email protected].

Click on the businesses name for Google Map links you can bookmark for the night of the event:

Electric Depot

Electric Depot houses a roster of unique local businesses like Sweet Society and City Roots Coffee, all of which will be open for the event. In addition to the resident businesses, the Depot will be hosting the Local Pop-Up Makers Night Market from 6-10 p.m., featuring more than 80 vendors selling their creations. There will also be live music at Red Stick Social from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring performances by DJ Doug Funnie, Louisiana Yard Dogs, Rouge Krewe and Yea You Right.

Circa 1857 and Mid City Makers Market

Local antique store Circa 1857 will be hosting Mid City Makers Market and is sure to be a hotspot during the festival, featuring a vast selection of work from local creators.

Rocca Pizzeria

The artisan pizzeria will be hosting live music and various art vendors during the festival. And be sure to check out the cocktail tasting taking place on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. 

Red Stick Spice Co.

Stop by Red Stick Spice for a can’t-miss offer exclusive to White Light Night: quick cooking classes for only $25! During the mini sessions, attendees will make homemade pretzels or shrimp potstickers.

Calandro’s Supermarket and Curbside Burgers

The shared parking lot between these two businesses always bustles with activity and plenty of vendors, including live music and art, during the festival, so you definitely won’t want to miss what they have to offer! 

Time Warp Boutique

Stop by the vintage fashion boutique to check out a special Polaroid pop-up with photographer Raegan Labat. Come shop for some threads and get a one-of-a-kind polaroid portrait taken to commemorate the event in proper retro fashion. 

The Pink Elephant Antiques

Stop by for some drinks and local art, in addition to the Pink Elephant’s wide assortment of antique and vintage goods.

Elizabethan Gallery

Be sure to stop by the gallery to see some amazing paintings, photos and mixed media work from local artists such as Carol Hallack, Diego Larguia, Mariana Kalacheva and more. 

What else is new?

Many new businesses have opened up along the corridor that you might not have had a chance to check out during the pandemic—plus more on the way. Here are a few spots you might want to pop by. 

Urban Traders

The Urban Traders trailer is an upcoming mixed-used development space that will be hosting an upcycled fashion show for the festival. Outfits will be provided by local thrift stores and independent vendors, beginning at 8 p.m. Urban Traders will also be hosting local makers Blue House Jewelry Co., Louisiana Sunshine Soap Company, Meg Theriot and My Kiln Pottery. And, last but not least, there’ll be jambalaya for sale on site.

Mid City Mercantile

Head to this new boutique for margaritas, beer, wine and street tacos from Mestizo. You’ll be able to browse art by TJ Black, Big Brown Bat Ceramics, Stacie Burke, Nicole Cotten Callac, Allison Dillard, Tony and Tracy Mose, Kader Boly and many more, while enjoying live music by Eric Schmitt and Clay Parker.

Youth City Lab

This new youth center is being built in a building on Government Street and Wiltz Drive once occupied by a church, then a rug store, and now a soon-to-be recreation and learning center for Baton Rouge youth. The collaborative project will house local nonprofits Front Yard Bikes, Line4Line, Humanities Amped and Big Buddy. Front Yard Bikes will launch its grand reopening at this new location, featuring several live musical performances. 

Red Stick Reads and Mimosa Handcrafted

The cozy bookstore Red Stick Reads and neighboring local jeweler Mimosa Handcrafted are collaborating for the festival to host a handful of vendors in their parking lot. Check them out for some great literature, jewelry, art and more. 

Mid City Artisans

This local retail gallery opened in April in Square 46, next to the former White Star Market location. During White Light Night, browse its unique creations from over 120 Louisiana artists.

Bistro Byronz

Bistro Byronz has already made the migration to its new Government Street location inside the former White Star Market, and White Light Night would be the perfect opportunity to drop in for dinner or a drink on its welcoming patio. 

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