The best spots to explore in NOLA during Essence Fest Weekend

Essence Fest Fashion


The best spots to explore in NOLA during Essence Fest Weekend

Essence Fest is the hottest ticket of the summer – there’s no better way to celebrate African-American music and culture. While the festival itself will keep you busy, here are a few ways to spend your Essence Festival weekend supporting black-owned businesses around New Orleans

Bayou Nachos at Munch Factory
Rebecca Todd, NOTMC


Heard Dat Kitchen

It is worth getting off of the beaten path to get some soul food from this eatery. The famous dish, “Dat Superdome”, includes catfish, mash potatoes and onion rings shaped like the Essence Festival headquarters, the New Orleans Superdome.


This sleek, contemporary space is great for Sunday brunch and offers an abundance of seafood dishes. You also can’t go wrong with their $5 margaritas, mojitos and martinis on Fridays.

Chef D’z Café

In house chef, Donald Smith, won the ACF Best Chefs of Louisiana 2018 award for his comfort food. A short drive from the Superdome, Chef D’z will show you true southern hospitality before heading to the shows.

Neyow’s Creole Café

Inspired by grandmother’s cooking, Neyow’s authentic creole dishes represent all things New Orleans in the Mid-City neighborhood. A fan-favorite dish includes red beans and rice with fried chicken on top.

The Munch Factory

With lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, the Munch Factory is great for any meal. From wings and nachos to oysters and shrimp and grits, everyone can find something to enjoy in this Lower Garden District establishment.

Cocktails at Victory Bar
Rebecca Todd, NOTMC



The craft cocktail scene is highly noted at this sleek and sophisticated downtown establishment. Choose between specialty drinks or New Orleans classics, but you won’t be disappointed either way by the mixologist’s knowledge for the right ingredients.

Bullet’s Sports Bar

Party with the locals at this neighborhood watering hole. Even if there isn’t a big game on, the live music scene makes its worth the visit. Every Thursday night, Kermit Ruffins plays for the crowd.

Club Caribbean

Live musicians and DJs take over this Bayou Road night club in a reggae style. Dance the night away to the sounds of the islands.

Second Vine Wine

Calling all wine lovers! Located in the Treme and Marigny neighborhood, Second Vine is great for wine tastings or relaxing with friends.

New Orleans Drink Lab

Learn about classic New Orleans cocktails, then shake them up yourself! Grab your friends and enjoy a class about all things alcohol.


Motherland African Art

Just steps from the French Market, shop for African masks, art and clothing.

Galerie Cayenne

Internationally renowned artist, Shakor, sells his colorful New Orleans inspired art in the heart of the French Quarter.


Venture Uptown to Magazine Street and find this women’s boutique that sells items for every body-type. Here you can find your perfect outfit for the festival.

Loretta’s Authentic Pralines

Grab a couple of sweet treats to bring home to your family and friends. Loretta was the first African-American woman to have a successful praline company in the city, and now has been in business for over 35 years.

Le Musee de fpc
Photo courtesy of Le Musee de fpc


Backstreet Cultural Museum

With the largest collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes, the museum is a must visit for jazz enthusiasts and those interested in the African-American culture of New Orleans.

Le Musée de f.p.c.

Educate yourself on the legacy of the free people of color. With an extensive collection of images, memorabilia and art work, Le Musee de f.p.c. reflects on the past in an important manner.

The George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art

Featuring the private collection of Dr. Dwight McKenna, the museum is an institution that collects, exhibits, and preserves the visual aesthetic of people of the African Diaspora. Be sure to call ahead to schedule a visit.

Treme’s Petit Jazz Museum

Celebrate all things jazz in the neighborhood where it all started.

Stella Jones Gallery

Located in the heart of the CBD, Stella Jones’ shares African and Caribbean fine art with various exhibits. The contemporary art gallery features paintings, prints and more.

Louis Armstrong Park
Zack Smith, NOTMC

Armstrong Park

Dedicated to Louis Armstrong, Armstrong Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the New Orleans weather and reflect on the jazz greats and African American history in the Treme neighborhood.

St. Augustine Catholic Church

The oldest African-American church in New Orleans is beautifully located in the heart of Treme.

Bayou Road

If looking for a way to spend the afternoon, Bayou Road is the perfect spot. With an abundance of restaurants and shops, the street is a wonderful way to support local businesses in a historic setting.


Looking for even more ways to explore during ESSENCE? Download the free ESSENCE Festival App, available from both Google Play and iTunes.

A letter to Essence Festival Travelers

Hello, everyone, my name is Dee Hollins, Nola native and resident. I’m one of the top NOLA Bloggers and Media Personality, NOLA Chic. I wanted to share my blog and open up my Facebook pages to yall just in case you needed any NOLA tips while you are here for Essence. Please do not forget that New Orleans, our culture, delicious food or good times are created by the natives & we welcome you into our neighborhoods and small businesses. Please do not get think New Orleans is within the circle of the tourist trap of downtown. There’s so much more to New Orleans and we are a loving people who will go out of our way to make sure you have a ball while you are here.

Do yourself a favor and get your po-boys at a corner store, theres one a few blocks off Canal st on Basin, well it’s called Basin St Grill, there’s corners stores in every neighborhood just about within blocks of each other. The best soulfood, cooked by someone who will remind you of your long lost Auntie is cooking her you know what off for ya back there. You can get a full breakfast for like $3.00, grits, eggs and hot sausage will cure any hangover. Triangle Deli which is a gas station on Broad has some of the best gumbo.

Please do not buy any boiled seafood downtown you can get that from most corner store as well, but places like Canjun’s Seafood shld be where you get crawfish & etc from, but ish if you got it like that and not wanting to experience our NOLA flavor you go on ahead a ball out and eat some high priced crawfish in the Quarters.

If you like spicy food please try our Hot Sausage Po Boys which you can not find in the French Quarter’s at all and even though it’s a sausage its 100% beef.

We may have a 2nd Line, but sometimes its cancelled because of Essence but I’ll keep yall posted.

I have tips on my website

Yall can here me on WBOK on Saturday at 1030am and I’ll talk about some happenings around NOLA.

Ya’ll keep me in yall prayers, I’m gracing the Golden Carpet at the McDonald’s 365 Black Awards for the 1st time!!! Who shld I interview, what to wear like omg I need some tips too!!

But seriously I’m hear if yall need me and if I can give like the ultimate tip that would be to SPEAK to everyone who crosses your path!!! You are in the city of hospitality and we speak to everyone. Give eye contact and SPEAK please.

Speak to that homeless guy who will ask you for a dollar, just say “Man, I don’t have no cash on me and keep on pushing. That acknowledgment will mean more than you know. The very ppl you mean mugging and turning your nose up to will be that same person to have your back. Just because they are down on their luck doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect. Contrary to popular belief they are not the ones pickpocketing or robbing ppl.

That’s another thing, dont believe that hype on the news, crime happens everywhere, you all see what goes on here, because the spot light is on us. Just about all the crime that happens involve people who know each other. There’s always that one fool, but if you practice the same safety precautions you wld in your state you will be fine. If you plan on getting sloppy drunk then have a sober buddy and leave cash and bling at the hotel if you walking on Bourbon St..

Well that’s enough I’m giving all my lil tips in one post lol, but in the meantime Laissez les bon temps roule, Nola Chic
NOLA Life group page
The Nola Chic- IG and Twitter
I hv a FB Biz Pg- Neauxla Chic ⚜

ARTIST Mykia Jovan Essence Festival Superlounge

Mykia Jovan is a vocalist and songwriter from New Orleans, Louisiana and she just so happens to be my cousin!

We are elated, proud and ohh so happy for Mykia!

Her unique voice has drawn natural comparisons to the great Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu, while her original compositions and live performances have established her as a singular voice in the modern progressive soul scene. Her debut record, Elliyahu is currently available at and streaming on all digital music outlets.

Get your tickets to see Mykia Jovan, she will give a soulful epic performance!

ARTIST Mykia Jovan Essence Festival Superlounge

Mykia Jovan is a vocalist and songwriter from New Orleans, Louisiana and she just so happens to be my cousin!

We are elated, proud and ohh so happy for Mykia!

Her unique voice has drawn natural comparisons to the great Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu, while her original compositions and live performances have established her as a singular voice in the modern progressive soul scene. Her debut record, Elliyahu is currently available at and streaming on all digital music outlets.

Get your tickets to see Mykia Jovan, she will give a soulful epic performance!

Nola Artist: Songbird Mykia Jovan

I wrote this entry some months ago, but I wanted to let those of you who read previously that Mykia Jovan will make her first grand appearance at the Essence Festival 2018!!!!! She will give an epic performance that you do not want to miss!!! Get your tickets!!!

Today, I’m excited to share with you, songstress Mykia Jovan, who happens to be cousin! Born and raised in New Orleans, graduate of New Orleans Center of Creative Arts; Mykia graced the music scene with powerful honest soul touching lyrics. At first glance one wouldn’t think such range of emotion can come from this young delicate flower, but there’s no lip synching coming from those lips.


When I think of Mykia, I visualize a quiet beautiful spirit with the voice of a small songbird who sings only, because she knows it soothes and heals not only her listener’s, but her’s as well.

I remember being a little girl visiting my Uncle Michael and Auntie Mary’s house to see my new lil cousin for the first time. She was a beautiful, playful, but quite baby. I thought she was so special, being that her parents were my idealization of all that made young love. Even at a young age, I felt intrigued by the spirit of this little real baby doll.

Life changed, time flew by, we grew up and so did our family dynamics, but love is love, blood if family and family equates unconditional love to me. Even though we didn’t grow up together, didn’t know much about each other, our spiritual connection remained the same. Now both grown women with our own personalities, self visions and lives, we continue to have a soul connection that time nor space can define or negate.

During one of my trips back home my Uncle Michael mentioned that Mykia would be singing at a club on Frenchmen St., the Blue Nile. I sent her an email letting her know I was in town and would be there to see her perform.


You can catch Mykia at Blue Nile every Sunday at 7:30pm.

I entered the dimly lit crowded nightclub and my ears went up as if I was some sort of hound dog, my eyes followed and there she was, a Classy Eccentric Grown Beautiful Mykia. I will have to write about her fashion on another blog, because OMG my girl kills it in the area of all things fashion! Like yes yes yesssss, Mykia!

Mykia’s voice resonated, pierced and grabbed at my heart and tears started to flow. I can’t even tell you the name of the song, because it was how she sang it, her actual voice, her tone was all I heard as if the words just flowed directly to my heart. She has that sound that makes ya wanna rock yourself, move side to side with your eyes closed, allowing you to focus on her voice.

I’m not sure if songbird is an adequate enough description of her sound, because her voice flew higher than any bird I have ever heard.

Then there’s the way she holds the mic, gripping it as if it was a love she needed to get through to. She has this tilt to her head, her eyes are softly closed, that lets you know her soul is soothed by her own voice. Just looking at her is harmonious.


Mykia has this black girl magic that has you wanting a piece of whatever she has for yourself, but then ya like no I want her to have it all!



I’m so proud of her, not for her beauty, voice or ability to capture the hearts of her listeners. I’m proud of her, because she emulates what it means to be beautiful in an unphysically sense. She defines beauty, by being Mykia. She stays true to herself, she is unafraid, she is real, she is honest and it comes out in her music.

It’s something in her sound, as if she is singing an old gospel hymn, letting both you and her know everything’s gonna be alright. It’s a mixture of what ya grandmother wants you to feel, but with a big dose of big girls can cry, but chic you know you can do this realness.

9/8/2012 Jabari Greer's Masquerade Ball

I’m not sure if you can feel her hug through her music, well maybe you can. I tell you what seeing her hold onto that mic, hearing that voice of her’s pierce your heart, while her words wrap around your soul has to feel like nothing, but a hug.

I highly suggest if you are in New Orleans that you witness for yourself the explosive soulful vocals of my cousin, Mykia Jovan! It’s a must see and hear experience of a lifetime!

Mykia’s sound will give your soul a dose of what it needs!


“Elliyahu is about whether or not we seize the opportunity to sneak behind the curtain and expose the so-called great and powerful,” she adds. “It’s discovering that idols are both in and outside ourselves. It is a tiny capsule of moments in life where I’ve either decided to illuminate or succumb to suffering.”

Join Mykia Jovan at Cafe Istanbul NOLA on Friday, September 1 to celebrate the release of her debut album, Elliyahu! In addition to a special live set from Mykia, the night will also feature performances by #SpiritandSparrow (Monica Spirit McIntyre & Kei Slaughter) and Baron Ahmon with his new band #TheSatellites!
The evening commences at 7:00pm with a full album listening and Q&A with Mykia. This will be the first time the album will be played in its entirety for the public and provides an opportunity to discuss themes, inspirations, and anything else that comes to mind. Complimentary food will be provided as well as a signed copy of the album to all attendees. The live performance portion of the night starts at 9:00pm.
7:00pm = Album Listening, Q&A, Elliyahu CD, + Live Performances: $15 adv, $20 door

9:00pm = Live Performances only: $10 adv, $15 door

“’16 Shots’ and ‘Feast on the Flower‘ are two very contrasting love songs,” Jovan tell us. “One is a reckoning and one is a beckoning. ’16 Shots’ is a social commentary from a marginalized token point of view. ‘Feast on the Flower‘ is a celebration of love in the midst of the chaos.”



Hanging with the fam after her set


Mykia & her Daddy, my Uncle Michael


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