NOLA Chic’s Hot Picks: Essence Daytime Parties & Events for July 5th

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 5.00.17 PM.png

Event Information
Master P, Romeo, and Team HOPE NOLA host the hottest celeb bball game in the South, Essence Weekend. Get your tickets to attend a fun-filled afternoon with some of the biggest stars in Sports and Entertainment. The only place where celebs and pro athletes meet to ball out for the fans!

Proceeds to benefit New Orleans youth!

VIP Courtside- (1st row)- $500.00

Courtside- Under The Basket (Baseline)- $250.00

Courtside- 2nd Row- $100.00

General Admission $25.00

Doors Open @ 4:00pm

Xavier University of Louisiana Convocation Center

7910 Stroelitz Street

New Orleans, LA 70125

Thursday, July 5, 2018 6:00 PM CT
XULA Convocation Center
Contact Information
For more info visit
Other Information


Ticketing Information
  • Please login to purchase tickets.



Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 10:00 AM –

Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 4:00 PM CDT



New Orleans Board of Trade- Downtown

316 Magazine St.

New Orleans, LA 70130

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Event description


NOLAVATE Black, an initiative of Short Speaks Creative, presents Black Tech New Orleans during Essence Festival Weekend, July 5th-6th, 2018 downtown at the New Orleans Board of Trade. Black Tech New Orleans will connect Black tech professionals and entrepreneurs of color in the technology industry with the objective of strengthening the Black tech ecosystem in the Greater New Orleans Region.

Black Tech New Orleans main stage presented by DXC will include topics and discussions around Diversity and Inclusion, Building Black Tech Ecosystems, Education and Tech, Funding for Start-Ups, Recruitment and Retention, Digital Media and Content Creation and a special Women In Tech roundtable discussion on Friday morning.

Start-ups and minority owned businesses are encouraged to stop by the pop-up Innovation Lab each day offering an on-site learning space and business center, including free headshots and LinkedIn workshops sponsored by Microsoft.

July 5th – Morning 10:00am-1:00pm

Theme: Inclusion Innovation

Building Black Tech Ecosystems – Identifying the who, what and where of Black Tech. How do those elements fit together to create an environment conducive to continued black tech growth in the region and beyond.

Inclusion Policy & Advocacy (Keynote) Terrell Boynton, DXC Technology

Inclusion Policy & Advocacy Panel & Q&A – Moderator – Rachel Graham – WBOK 1230 Panel – Jonee Love -DXC Technology, Terrell Boynton- DXC Technology, Quentin Messer-New Orleans Business Alliance

Public-Private Partnership Panel & Q&A – Moderator – Kelisha Garrett, New Orleans Regional Black Chamber Panel – Monique Maxmillion – GE Digital, Jean Dervil – GE Digital

July 5th – Afternoon 2:30pm-4:00pm

Theme: Money Moves

Funding Minority Startups – Developing a solid plan and communicating the vision that will secure funding to launch your big idea.

Funders Circle & Q&A – Moderator – Desiree Young, Venture Walk Panel – Sevetri Williams -ExemptMeNow, Nadiyah Morris – CamelBack Ventures, Daniel Applewhite, Propeller

Pitch Competition 4:00pm-5:00pm

Minority-Owned Start-Ups (Keynote) Jaia Thomas – Jaia Thomas Law, Entreprenuer Magazine

July 6th – Morning 10:00am-12:00pm

Theme: Diversity and Inclusion

Women In Tech – Sharing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in tech, while celebrating the progress toward gender equality and diversity in leadership.

Women In Tech Panel & Q&A – Moderator – Netta Jenkins, Daily Burn Panel – Ms. Rosalin Hicks, NASA – Dr. Rene Horton – NASA

July 6th – Afternoon 1:30pm-5:00pm

Theme: The Creative Collective

Beyond Words: Bringing our unique storytelling perspectives as people of color to a global stage.

Diversity Media and Content Panel & Q&A – Moderator – TBD – Panel – Brandon “B Mike” Odum – Studio Be, Joshua King- Foot Knowledge

Education in Tech – Bridging the technology gap through entrepreunuership, education and STEAM exploration.

Education in Tech Panel & Q&A – Moderator – TBD

Thanks To Our Partners and Sponsors!

Main stage sponsor DXC Technology!

Accelerator Partners GE Digital, Camelback Ventures, New Orleans Business Alliance, Daily Burn, UTSI

Business Partners Robertson Wealth Builders

Community Partners AT&T, Idea Village, New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, Propeller, Urban League of Greater New Orleans


Jack Daniel’s & myblu present…The 11th Annual Festival Weekend TakeOver -> July 5th through July 8th @ The METROpolitan


Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 10:30 PM –

Mon, Jul 9, 2018, 4:00 AM CDT



METROpolitan Nightclub (Generations Hall)

310 Andrew Higgins Boulevard

New Orleans, LA 70130

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Event description


present the 11th Annual…Festival Weekend


2 0 1 8

@ Nola’s Largest & Most Upscale Venue…
The METROpolitan Nightclub aka Generations Hall
(310 Andrew Higgins Drive in NOLA’s Downtown Warehouse District)

For Tickets and Sections, Please Visit

This is hands down the best event to start your weekend as it annually attracts over 3000 urban professionals to the world-famous Metropolitan to mix, mingle & groove with politicians, business owners, professional athletes, entertainers and other trendsetting tastemakers from across the United States.


Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 10:00 PM –

Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 4:00 AM CDT



Bourbon Heat

711 Bourbon Street

New Orleans, LA 70116

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds




Early Arrival is strongly recommended, ticket does NOT guarantee entry once venue gets to capacity. Individuals will be let in the venue on a one in one out basis once the club reaches capacity.

Welcome to New Orleans

The EMF Kick-Off


Kid Capri

Hosted by: LHH, Karlie Redd. Performing Live, Pleasure P.

Special Guest Dj’s: DJ Boogie (Lil Kims Official DJ) & DJ Tayrock (Atlanta’s Hottest DJ)

MC: Al Boogie

Color Dress code: All White

Darron Wheeler Ent. in conjunction with Empire Dynasty Travel presents “The 5th Annual “Welcome to New Orleans” Official EMF Kickoff Party” @ Bourbon Heat, 711 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA. July 5th, 2018 from 10 pm to July 6th, 2018, 4 am. The kitchen will be open until 1 am. There will be drink specials throughout the night with Bottle Service available.

First 3 years were strictly parties, last year we kicked it up a notch by having H-Town, this year we turned it all the way up by having the one and only, Kid Capri, LHH, Karlie Redd, and R&B artist, Pleasure P.

Come Kickoff EMF’18 with Darron Wheeler Entertainment as we bring you a great night of mixing, mingling, drinking and dancing as you connect with new friends and re-connect with old friends.

VIP (Starting at midnight) includes a reserved section by stage, 2-hours open bar & appetizers for $85.00.
Second Level Seating for 6, includes one bottle of MOET Champagne, one premium bottle of your choice, a dedicated server with tax and gratuity included for $660.00.

2017 sold-out & we anticipate 2018 to sell-out! Get your tickets now!

All sales are final…NO REFUNDS.

Various DJ’s throughout the night will be going in on the 1s and 2s.

Doors open 10 PM
21 and over
For VIP and bottle reservations contact 816.476.7805.

VIP Table Reservations
$100 Deposit/$560 Due At Door


Thu, July 5, 2018

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM CDT



New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Event description


Questions about Trademarks for Your Business & Brand!!!

Come learn from TheBizLawyer what a trademark is and why they are important to your business and brand. Come with all your trademark questions! TheBizLawyer will answer all trademark questions for attendees in this small intimate setting. Learn how to protect your business, your brands, and your investments via trademarks. You want to be the first to protect your trademarks before someone else does! If someone beats you to registration they could demand you, cease usage or limit and/or restrict how you use your brand.

Limited Seats!!! Hurry and Grab Your Ticket. These Tickets Will Not Be Around Long!!!

Light Bites included!!! Dinner and Drinks to be Ordered and Paid for Separately by Attendees!!!

Location Will Be Provided Upon Ticket Purchase!!!

Lipstick N Laughter

Thursday Jul 5, 2018
$25 – $70
Joy Theater

Doors: 7:00 PM
Show: 7:30 PM

21 and over

Ready for night of laughs? Get your tickets to Lipstick ‘N Laughter, a special night of comedy hosted by Sherri Shepherd and featuring Kym Whitley and David A. Arnold’s “He Said, She Said” take on male/female relationships, plus emerging comedians Ms. Pretty Ricki, Maija DiGiorgio and local talent Geneva Joy. Share a laugh with your girlfriends during the Essence Festival. Buy your tickets now! Lipstick ‘N Laughter T-shirts and tote bags available here



Thu, July 5, 2018

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM CDT



New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

New Orleans, LA 70113

View Map

Black Restaurant Week cordially invites you to NOSH, our inaugural culinary showcase featuring New Orleans premiere Black chefs, caterers and bartenders! Dive into the African diaspora and tantalize your taste buds with flavors of African, African-American, and Caribbean cuisine.

From spicy and savory, to sweet and subtle, we will have an array of options suited for every taste. Vegetarian or Vegan? No problem! Take the guess work out of finding your next event caterer, wedding-cake vendor, or meal-prep service. All we need you to do is have a great time! Oh, and don’t forget to vote your favorite for the People’s Choice Award. We can’t wait to see you there!

Participant & Vendor Spaces available

Interested in participating in Nosh? We have spaces available for caterers, Executive Chefs, culinary students, and vendors. Visit for more information.


Thu, July 5, 2018

5:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT



The Revolution Nola

1840 Thalia Street

New Orleans, LA 70113

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Kick off your Essence Fest weekend with The Inn Crowd at The Pink Code Happy Hour! We’ll be taking over the courtyard of The Revolution, NOLA’s Hottest New Happy Hour!

Join us for Great Vibes, Great Cocktails & Great People!

Ladies grab your Bestie & Fellas come meet your new #Bae!

The Revolution is the only place to be Thursday, July 5, 2018!



Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 10:00 PM –

Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 1:00 AM CDT




516 Frenchmen Street

New Orleans, LA 70116

View Map



Move Ya Brass FREE Fitness Classes

Hip Hop Ya Brass fitness class hosted by Move Ya Brass is a free dance fitness class under the Mandeville Shed every Tuesday from 5:45 pm – 6:45 pm. This class is all about getting out and having fun and is open to all fitness levels!

Twerk Ya Brass is a free dance fitness class under the Mandeville Shed every Saturday from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. This class is all about getting out and having fun and is open to all fitness levels!

Stretch Ya Brass is a sunrise yoga series on Piety Wharf every Thursday from 6:15 am – 7:15 am. This class is open to participants of all levels. Bring your own mat!


Multiple Dates



The Rooster Club, Barbers of New Orleans

925 Common Street Suite B

New Orleans, La 70112

View Map

Event description


Medusa MADE:Muses, Mavens & Masters Beauty Team

Lead by: Getmade Monique; Makeup Artist + Male Groomer &New Orleans Hair Witch, Kathryn Lane; loc technician & hair stylist

Generously Hosted by : The Rooster Club, Barbers of New Orleans

@ 925 Common Street Suite B New Orleans LA 70112

Date: July 5 12p- 6pm Date: July 6-7 10-6pm

Join New Orleans own, Muses Mavens and Masters Across the street from Hotel Wyndam Garden Baronne Plaza, just a short Pedi-Cab Ride (click for info) from The Convention Center… for Lashes, Locks & Lagniappe, Refreshen Reset Reflect Pop Up. Enjoy relaxing massage, have your Tarot Cards read or Natal & Love Charts divined, get bronzed and blushed for the night out, fresh line up or a “re-curl that girl” touch ups…all while supporting locally owned and managed business efforts. –

RSVP Registration is FREE

Beauty & Grooming Services booked & prepaid via Square (book now).

Daily Raffle : MedusaMADE Mystical Magic Gift Bag. Paid Services Registers you for our Daily Raffle

Lagniappe [Free] Experience

  • Registered attendees receives Paul Mitchell Sponsored Gift Bag
    • Includes [digital] transferable Gift Certificates, from ALL service providers.
  • WiFi access and Charging station


All of our Beauty and Grooming services are designed to hold up in the heat and humidity of New Orleans.

M5 Beauty & Grooming Applications include Color Matched & Complexion/Skin Type Appropriate Products that are:

  • heat and water resistant/proof & longwearing
  • Melanin Compatible & Friendly
  • SPF Protection
  • cruelty free

Prepaid/Booked Service :paid service registers you for 1 entry in our MedusaMADE Mystical Magic Gift Bag Raffle

Paul Mitchell Retail SALE, Special Summer Prices

  • Paul Mitchell hair products, hair curling wands and flatirons ARE available for purchase. Speak with The New Orleans Hair Witch about getting YOUR “new new” tools at our Special Summer Sale Prices

Daily Raffle of MedusaMADE Mystical Magical Gift Bags

Walk-ins are welcomed. RSVP Registration is HIGHLY suggested and recommended so that the Medusa Made Team may address your Beauty, Grooming and Other Worldly Mystical needs.

New Orleans’s Own,

MedusaMADE : Hair Team Sponsored by Paul Mitchell, Lead by New Orleans Hair Witch, Conjuring Coiffures from Curls Coils Kinks

MedusaMADE : Makeup Team,Sponsored by Vieux Carre Hair Store, established in 1877 Lead by Getmade,Getting you ready and Getting you Right with Makeup & Grooming services to Slay The Summer at 2018 Essence Music Festival

Please be advised that photographs may be taken at and around the event by other attendees. By entering this event, you consent to other attendees and/orMedusaMADE-M5 possibly photographing you. Respect and recognition for personal space will be employed at all times.

#ReFreshenUpPopUp #PartywithaPurpose #refreshenuppopup #MedusaMADEM5 #neworleanshairwitch #medusamade #ugetmade


Black Nurses Rock Out at Fusion Gallery ~ Paint Taste Spa ~ NOLA


Thu, July 5, 2018

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM CDT


Freeport McMoRan Building

1615 Poydras Street

1615 Poydras Street Suite 900

New Orleans, LA 70112

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Event description


Can you say Private Chef, Complimentary Food and Beverages! All while you enjoy the view of the worlds largest iconic landmark Mercedes Benz Superdome! Toast to the Big Easy while watching the beautiful sunset from our corner office view of the skyline. You eat, drink, paint, enjoy the ambiance of music and art. Don’t forget the SPA options. Yes the package comes with some SPA options and add-ons are available. Take home your masterpiece in our Tote Bag exclusive gift to all of the earlybirds. Reserve your seat by May 31, 2018 and you get that Fusion Gallery Paint Taste Spa Tote. Perfect for your stroll through the Essence Festivities and the French Quarters! Seats are limited for each event. Enjoy this exclusive 40% off for Black Nurses Rock guest in NOLA!





Thu, July 5, 2018

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT



Catahoula Hotel

914 Union St.

New Orleans, LA 70112

View Map

Event description



We’re bringing ENVISION Empowerment Experience™ to New Orleans!

Join Dr. Bahby Banks and friends on the rooftop of Catahoula Hotel on Thursday, July 5th from 6:00 – 9:00pm for a complimentary evening of fellowship, food and music with the intentional purpose of reminding you to take care of yourself before you take on the town!

Culinary sampling prepared by Tiara’s Taste | Soundtrack curated by MPA Financials

Videography by Zoës Pictures

This event is supported by the American Heart Association, Greater Southeast Affiliate.

NOLA Chic’s Hot Picks: Essence Daytime Parties & Events for July 6th

Tipitina’s Foundation Presents: Foundation Free Fridays Featuring Maggie Koerner + Miss Mojo

** Every dollar earned supports protecting & preserving Louisiana???s musical culture***
??? Ages 21+
??? Must Have Valid Government-Issued ID to Enter
??? General Admission / Standing Room Only
** The Box Office is open 10am to 5pm Mon-Fri **
??? No Professional Cameras or Rigs (Cameras with Removable Lenses)
??? All Sales Are Final**********


Black Girl Giggles Comedy Festival Presents THE COMEDY SHAKEDOWN

Fri, Jul 6 – Sat, Jul 7 at 10:00 PM–2:00 AM
225 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

Black Girl Giggles Comedy Festival Presents:

The Comedy Shakedown & Dance Party hosted by Camille Roane

Starring Queen Aishah

Featuring Carissa Cropper, Geneva Joy and more

After all the laughs, DJ KIDDLOVE will take over and the party will continue on the dance floor!

Black Girl Giggles is a New Orleans collective of African-American female comediennes building and fostering a diverse and growing stand-up comedy community for comediennes of color.

The Foundation Room VIP Club is the premier lounge in the French Quarter. Come dressed to impressed as there is a Business Casual dress code enforced. This event is 21+. $20

Foundation Room is 21+ Venue. Business Casual Dress Code enforced. There are no refunds if denied entry due to Dress Code Violations. Seating is limited and provided on a first come first serve basis. Standing Room only venue.


Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold Take Over Essence with 90s Party


Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 9:00 PM –

Sat, Jul 7, 2018, 1:00 AM CDT



The Revolution

1840 Thalia Street

New Orleans, LA 70113

View Map

Refund Policy


No Refunds

Event description



TISHA “GINA CAMPBELL & TICHINA “PAM” ARNOLA will be bringing the 90s Back to NOLA !!





Fri, July 6, 2018

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM CDT



Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District

2203 Saint Charles Avenue

New Orleans, LA 70130

View Map

Entertainment AND Empowerment! Join other Educators in the Crescent City on the LIVEST weekend of the year! The Essence Fest Weekend Education Empowerment Brunch is a chance for professionals to Mix, Mingle & Mobilize. Enjoy Live Music, Spoken Word, Delicious Food and- of course, MIMOSAS!


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Attendees must be 21+ years of age.



Essence Tips Part 2

The summer 2016 was my first official visit to the Essence Festival as a New Orleanian, a local and the experience was completely different than coming to New Orleans as a visitor. It was still a great e\nxperience, but different, because the rules had changed, because I lived within the city that host millions of visitors. Living in New Orleans and attending Essence Festival comes with some perks, the biggest one is knowing how New Orleans flows. I would describe it as having a VIP pass, because within your family circle someone is working a big event. They can access if it will be crowded, if there’s traffic and if you do not have family working, we have that NOLA hospitality, which makes it easy to ask someone for assistance.


I learned so much being on the “inside” people engaged with me differently, it was as if I was surrounded by loving sisters, cousins and Aunties. While waiting in the long lines I made friends with so many women, all gave insight on who had the best freebies or which line was worth standing in, sessions where you can interact with the stars, which vendor has both good food and decent prices. Someone may pass on, “Girl, My Black is Beautiful has a long line, but Swag Bag is loaded full size great products and the bag is hott.” Tips such as these would prevent you from wasting precious time waiting in line for a bag with coupon for $2.00 off or worse for the vendor to run out of a product, but worse that time spent could have been sitting in on an empowerment session.

I was approached by several women as w\nell, most asked if I was a local, followed by wanting to know where the locals go, why are we in line, is an appointment needed and the list goes on which prompted me to write a few Essence Tips of my own.






Let’s start off with the obvious, which is planning your trip to New Orleans for the Essence Festival early, some people start planning while they are in the midst of the festival for the next year, yes it’s that real. The sooner the better, especially for those of us who are on a budget, both airline and hotel prices are increased to the tune of 300%, but hey if you have it like that, then do you, Chic. There were times when I came home for a visit a week before an event and the cost get a 4 star hotel for under $125, but during the Essence Festival, actually any festival or event that same hotel, same room will run you about $400. You can cut cost by booking early, more than 60 days prior, because once the rooms get booked means the prices increase, the same goes for airfare.

Inside Pro Travel Tip: Prices increase once the rooms and airline seats are just about at full capacity, not the opposite. Some people think a deal will pop up when this is the case, they wrong and end up spending triple by waiting at the last minute. The only way to get a deal is to buy when no one else is buying. You will notice when more than half the seats or rooms are open is when prices are at their lowest. Companies such as hotels and airlines sell a block of rooms/seats to discounted sites such as Hotwire, Travelocity and etc, these sites offer a greater discount, but there are only so many offers they can sell, booking early is the only option to get a great deal on these sites.

Essence Concert tickets

As with any hot event, concert, party, if you want to attend, get good seats, you must purchase your tickets early or you run the risk of sitting in the nose bleed section or worse the shoe sells out. I do not know of any discounts for tickets to the concerts at the Superdome, but your mainstage tickets includes access to the Super Lounge, where you can get up close and personal at the intimate smaller shows on the 2nd level as well as there are free concerts at the convention center. At the Super Lounges you have a great chance at meeting a celebrity, like my cousin Mykia Jovan!! She’s so sweet and has the most beautiful voice, you have to check her out.

Ticket prices

Ticket tip. If by chance you did not purchase tickets and your coins are accounted for, you may luck up and win tickets at the convention center or online via Essence giveaways. Several vendors at the convention center have options to win tickets. Last year, my Auntie Cookie won two tickets by getting an HIV test done onsite, it was as simple as that. She gifted me the tickets and I had an awesome time. We were there the night to witness the lady win the car from entering the Ford sweepstakes. Master P did the thing bringing the whole New Orleans family on stage , Chance the Rapper made me fall in love with all that he embodies and Solange needs is a true Nola Chic in my book!

We made the silly mistake and drove, well my girlfriend drives for Uber and Lyft and the plan was for her to drop me off afterwards and she would go back to make some money driving people from the Superdome and that worked for her, but traffic was cracra and parking was $40!

Free Day Time Experience

Daytime Experiences include speakers and sessions on topics ranging from business and entrepreneurship to a beauty and style expo.

All daytime events are held downtown at the Convention Center

Center Stage is just that – the center of all things entertainment. Center Stage is your hub for the latest from TV, movie & music stars, celebrity meet & greets and free live performances.


ESSENCE Path to Power
Create your own business, grow your wealth and thrive in your dream job with expert advice that will make you shine!

Beauty & Style Expo
Calling all beauty & style gurus! Steal secrets from beauty icons, discover a new look and get a sneak peek at the latest fashions!

ESSENCE Entertainment All Access
Be the first to see sneak peeks, premieres and meet some stars at Center Stage, Fan Zone and the Screening Room

Lifestyle Experience focuses on wellness of the mind, body, and soul. All daytime events are held downtown at the Convention Center

ESSENCE Empowerment Experience
Get woke by the most influential voices in entertainment, business, music, politics and beyond to build a better future for our communities.

See celeb chefs and savor Southern faves, like shrimp and grits, crawfish etoufée, gumbo and more made by NOLA’s best cooks.

Swag Bags


The Swag Bags are the main attraction at the convention center believe it or not. Women are not standing in line waiting for the doors to open to run to get a front row seat at the empowerment stage, they go straight to My Black is Beautiful and get in another long line to get the Swag Bags and I don’t blame them, there are some pretty nice things in those bags, the bag it’s self is nice. As I mentioned my Auntie is an Essence Festival Master Goer, her speciality is getting the Swag Bags in a timeframe that will enable her to enjoy the sessions and concerts.


My Black is Beautiful is by far the most popular bag and this is her first stop. You will stand in line for all of the bags, but My Black is Beautiful has a different set up. After you stand in line you are given a wrist band and a time to come back to get your My Black is Beautiful Swag Bag which will have some full size great hair products that I believe retail at $25+per bag, so your time is compensated. It can be an hour or two before your time to come back to collect your bag, there will be a line again, but it goes pretty fast. While you are waiting to get your My Black is Beautiful Swag Bag, I suggest you make your way to the following vendors:

1. Shea Butter

2. Carols Daughter

3. Coke Cola

4. Cream of Nature

5. Motions

6. Wal-Mart

7. Cantu

7. McDonald’s

8. Tidethth6KKJYYPYthUDTPW39Quntitled

None in any particular order. Also, as you are walking to the Convention Center there will be brand reps giving away products along the sidewalk. Don’t blow these people off, they aren’t gonna get ya, ask you for a $1.00 or anything, but they are gifting you with products. I noticed that lots of tourist ignore New Orleanians as they walk past them and the majority of the time it’s just us, being hospitable, even if someone was to ask you for a few coins just say, ” Sorry, I don’t have it and keep it pushing. ” Remember you are in New Orleans and we speak to to everyone, but in this case, the rep is trying to give you a T-shirt, cup or even tickets!

Swag Bags can contain anything from hair products, t-shirts, scarves, towels, Coke Cola drink, church fans, cell phone gadgets to laundry detergent to souvenirs. In my opinion all the products are name brand high quality products and worth standing in line if you are into freebies as well as Essence Festival keepsakes.

There’s a booth to sign up for an Essence Magazine subscription and you get a very nice gifts, unlike the other Swag Bags this one is not free. There’s a cost for the signup to get the magazine’s then you get the free bag of goodies.

Once you have your My Black is Beautiful Swag Bag and a few of the others you are free to maneuver through the convention center to hit the panels, sessions and food court. The key is to get those main bags out the way and you can go back throughout the day for the others. suggest having a schedule at this point, unless there’s no particular session or panel you would like to attend, but that’s unlikely, we all pick what’s going on, what celebrity we want to see, who’s on main stage when deciding what day to attend. Make sure to download the Essence Festival App to keep up to date on event changes. As an added plus, do yourself a favor and download the Black Nola App as well to get

On the stages at the convention center you will have the opportunity to hear the celebrities share their professional and personal stories. Mary J had us all in tears last year after sharing her story on stardom and love. Cast members of Queen Sugar, Insecure, Girls Trip were in attendance as well as celebrities, Halle Berry, Tina Lawson, Kenya Moore, Queen Latifah, Iyanla Vanzant, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Dr. Cissy Houston were some of the most influential people that grace the Free Daytime Experiences stages.

Essence Eats

You can’t be anywhere in New Orleans and not eat the delicious food that we dish out here and at the convention center the food court has some of the best New Orleans restaurants, caters and cooks serving up good eats as well as cooking demonstrations best of New Orleans chef’s. One year I had a fried blue crab, unlike the soft shelled crab this crab was hard shelled, but omg it was so good. Last, year I tried the seafood nachos and I have been out here with a flashlight ever since trying to find someone who makes em. The food court has so many different New Orleans favorites as well a new creative dishes and treats. Please treat yourself as well as support the vendors, these vendors are typically New Orleans Black entrepreneurs, small businesses and pop-ups. Essence Festival gives these entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their delicacies to a larger audience, please assist them towards achieving their goals. Just think you will help put dollars back into the black community, black businesses here in New Orleans. Plus vendor fees are expensive, your support would be appreciate.

If you do not grab a bite at the convention center, don’t trip, New Orleans is full of great restaurants which include black own estabhilshments that I suggest you try. I know the feeling of wanting to be downtown where all the fun seems to be going down, but there’s so much more to our city. I highly suggest you get to know our city outside of the tourist trap.

If you have to stay within the downtown area here’s my recommendations for black owned restaurants that are within walking distance of the convention center.

  1. Backatown Coffee Parlor 301 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-372-4442 Backatown is a locally-owned coffee boutique designed to reflect the unique personality and charm of old Storyville with excellent offerings and customer service.. There is something for everyone here. In addition to premium coffee and espresso drinks, the boutique also serves loose leaf teas, juice, fresh baked pastries and desserts along with an assortment of light fare meals for families to enjoy. I recommend the Sweet Potato Pie. Omg, I haven’t had a sweet potato pie with that texture and flavor, since Hurricane Katrina took my grandmother out of her kitchen.

2. Bennachin Restaurant 1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 504-522-1230 For a taste of traditional African cuisine, Bennachin Restaurant is the place to be. Offering a variety of dishes bursting with flavor, Bennachin welcomes everyone in its comfortable and friendly atmosphere.


3. Café Rose Nicaud 632 Frenchman St. New Orleans, LA 70116 504-949-3300 In the early 1800’s Rose Nicaud became the first known coffee vendor in New Orleans. Rose, a slave, saw the opportunity to provide a service to French Market vendors, workers and shoppers by providing them with fresh, hot coffee. Rose created a portable cart which she pushed through the market on Sundays, selling “cafe noir ou cafe au lait”. Her entrepreneurial efforts were a quick success. One customer is quoted to have said, “Her coffee is like the benediction that follows after prayer”.

Rose Nicaud.jpg

If you follow me you know how much I speak of good eat at corner stores and gas stations. Do not be intimated to come into our neighborhoods or if you see someone standing outside the gas station asking for a dollar, simply say, “I’m sorry, bruh I don’t have it” and that’s all it takes. It’s something how just acknowledging makes a difference. But here’s a couple spots within walking distance of the convention center.

  1. Brother’s Fried Chicken 222 Carondelet St., New Orleans, LA If you want to really dig in to the culture and taste what the locals like, this place can’t be missed. You get it to go and you’re good, dining isn’t an option.·Brothers chicken in New Orleans has some of the best chicken I ever tasted. I can’t believe it’s cooked at corner store or gas station . Where else can you go and get a 2 piece fries and a drink for $4.93 and a 40 piece for $16.99 wow gotta love it! 30441302_1818609078159751_5716008524970983424_o.jpgbrothersfoodmart.jpg
  • Basin St. Supermarket 237 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112 Cornerstore with excellent food that served the families of the Iberville Housing Projects before Hurricane Katrina. I think this place is better then a lot of the tourist traps in the area. The food is delicious, 12in Po-Boys for $6, broiled seafood, liquor all at affordable prices. I would recommend this place over most of the places in the French Quarter. In fact if you want to eat good avoid the French Quarter altogether all the good places were around it! Come into our neighborhoods!
    (504) 522-7947

basin st


If you’re mobile your selection choices are plentiful and I’ll list my faves below. New Orleans has several African-Americans who dominated New Orleans kitchens through much of the city’s history, but most can not afford to have a business in the business/downtown district. I do not know about you, but I’ll drive across town to get me some good food. I know yall hear of people stating they are brand loyal to clothing and etc, but I am food loyal. lol I refuse to waste my money on white table cloths, candles, crystal glasses and etc if I’m not 100% sure that the food will have my eyes rolling in the back of my head and have me doing a tasty dance in my chair after that first bite. I honestly feel that you need that French Quarter experience, so please do not think I’m telling you to avoid it. I would like for you to give a restaurant, business outside of the tourist trap a chance to get some of those tourist dollars.

  1. Dooky Chase’s 2301 Orleans Ave., 504-821-060 There are more famous chefs in New Orleans, but none is more widely respected than Leah Chase, who, now into her 90s, has been presiding over Dooky Chase’s kitchen for more than 60 years. Her cooking is considered Creole-soul to differentiate it from French-Creole, from which it stands apart by virtue of the dishes you won’t find at Galatoire’s (macaroni and cheese, collard greens) and its frankly legendary place in the history of black America: Ray Charles sang about Chase’s food, and Louis Armstrong and Thurgood Marshall had favorite orders. The distinguished collection of African-American artwork on the walls is a powerful symbol of the history of this restaurant, which first opened in the teeth of the Jim Crow era. At that time, it served as a symbol that African-Americans deserve nothing less than the best. Ms. Chase continues to give her customers the best with cooking that embodies her own Creole heritage: gumbo, shrimp Clemenceau, speckled trout topped with lump blue crab. And yes, the fried chicken is that good. Friday is the only night Dooky’s serves dinner; lunch Tuesday through Saturday
  2. Li’l Dizzy’s Café 1500 Esplanade Ave., 504.569.8997 Li’l Dizzy’s owner Wayne Banquet is one of New Orleans’ most seasoned restaurateurs. He literally grew up inside Eddie’s, the legendary Creole-soul joint in Gentilly owned by his late father, Eddie. He opened Li’l Dizzy’s in the mid-aughts after running a string of New Orleans places specializing in the kind of cooking you find here. Among the specialties: fried chicken, red beans, po-boys, gumbo and a happy marriage between finfish and blue crab called trout Banquet. The restaurant is only open during the day. Breakfasts are bustling, and the lunch buffet is particularly popular.

3. Two Sisters in Da East 9901 Chef Menteur Hwy., 504.242.0469 The Finister family opened this spin-off location of Two Sisters, their popular soul food restaurant on North Derbigny Street, four years ago. With the original restaurant temporarily shuttered, this outpost in the East is the only place to enjoy the Sisters’ (there are actually three, plus a brother and a mom) stuffed bell peppers and dizzying array of delicious stewed vegetables and proteins served over rice. Its daily-changing menu features neckbones, oxtails, hamhocks, pork chops, hen, pig knuckles and pterodactyl-size turkey wings falling apart in pools of gravy. The gumbo, served on Thursday through Saturday only, is a show-stopping surf-and-turf merger, and the various legumes red beans, white beans, black-eye peas — solidify this kitchen’s pot-cooking bona fides.

4.Some visitors find it difficult to compute how a lunch-only restaurant in an off-kilter building in a neighborhood marked with blight could be famous. The confusion melts away once they try Willie Mae’s fried chicken. Crisp, tightly battered, juicy and seasoned just so, it is among the best versions of an iconic American staple, yet it isn’t the sole reason regulars and tourists happily beat an increasingly well-traveled path to Willie Mae’s door. There’s the bread pudding, for example. And the smothered veal, which produces the gravy spooned over your rice. And pork chops you can choose to have fried in one of three different batters.