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 ⚜

Must-do New Orleans list: Sno-balls, beignets, Treme and 12 more delights

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While the Crescent City is never entirely predictable — and a good dose of whimsy is always the best preparation for a trip to New Orleans — the following must-do list could serve as a guide for visitors.
While I could write an encyclopedia on the city’s food and music options alone, these 15 suggestions will help you start to experience the heart of this low, lovely, lyrical place.

1. Eat with your hands.

Among the benefits of dining in a shellfish culture is that silverware is frequently optional.
Eating with your hands is the only way to get through a bowl of buttery, pepper-spiked BBQ shrimp at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant, where the iconic dish was first conceived.
Boiled crawfish is the seasonal delicacy from roughly January through May, and it’s arguably best eaten on a park bench with a cold one. Big Fisherman in Uptown and KJean in Mid-City are reliable crawfish takeout spots.
And locals tend to tip oysters on the half-shell up to their lips rather than mess with those awkward, tiny forks. At Bourbon House Restaurant in the French Quarter and Casamento’s Restaurant in Uptown, no one expects you to use those forks for anything besides squeezing the juice from lemon wedges over your catch.
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2. Browse a supermarket.

Especially at locally owned grocery stores like Rouses Supermarkets and Langenstein’s, you can stock your suitcase — and, later, your pantry — with Louisiana dry goods staples like Camilla red beans, Cajun Country rice, Zapp’s Potato Chips (try the Cajun Crawtator), Creole-style coffee, crab boil and boxed jambalaya mix.
Even if you can’t find room among your boas and beads for smuggling food products home, it’s worth a wander down the spice aisle to observe in what amazing quantities New Orleanians stock up on bay leaves and cayenne pepper.

3. Cool off with a sno-ball

New Orleans’ best ammunition against the subtropical heat of its eight-or-so summer months is, perhaps counter-intuitively, not alcoholic.
Sno-balls (not snow cones) are simple but culturally important treats of finely shaved ice drenched in sugary syrups. They come served in cups or Chinese take-out containers and are generally sold from trucks, takeaway windows and small sweet shops.
Your favorite sno-ball vendor is generally the closest sno-ball vendor, though our pick is Uptown’s Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, where the syrup flavors range from the traditional (nectar, chocolate, cream of strawberry) to the uber-contemporary (satsuma, cardamom, ginger).
willie maes fried chicken

4. Get your bounce on.

Miley Cyrus might have brought twerking — a dance move that involves shaking one’s rump at the speed of a hummingbird’s wings — to a popular audience at MTV’s Video Music Awards in 2013, but New Orleans dancers have been “popping” since the late 1980s.
In a article, local music writer Allison Fensterstock even presented evidence that Miley learned to twerk to New Orleans bounce music while filming a movie here in 2010 and 2011.

5. Take a literary tour.

New Orleans collects literary ghosts, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Eudora Welty among them.
Besides reading works penned while writers were encamped in the city, the best way to channel the city’s literary life is by touring the French Quarter’s numerous and wonderfully atmospheric used and new book stores. Call it antiquing for the mind.
Our favorites include Crescent City Books, Librairie Book Shop and Kitchen Witch, a store specializing in used cookbooks. Local author Susan Larsen’s book, “The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans,” is a great resource for unpacking the city’s literary dimension.

6. Eat beignets.

The centenarian, open-air coffee and beignet spot Café du Monde might be the most obvious tourist attraction in the French Quarter, if not the entire city.
As we’re in the business of steering visitors to New Orleans’ more genuine experiences, you might expect us to avoid such clichés.
On the contrary. A beignet-free trip to New Orleans would be a travesty of the first order, and Café du Monde has a high batting average for serving a consistently hot and well-sugared product.
The queue can be excruciating, though, so keep the nearby Café Beignet, as well as the City Park location of Morning Call Coffee Stand, in your back pocket.

7. Marvel at the Mississippi.

In a city surrounded by water — the Great River, Lake Pontchartrain, the ever-encroaching Gulf of Mexico — it’s sometimes surprising how infrequently you encounter water views.
Woldenberg Park, adjacent to the French Quarter, is an exception; it’s also a wonderful place to pass a breezy hour or two. But for a birds-eye view of the winding Mississippi and its workings, take the elevator at Canal Place (located at the foot of Canal Street) skyward.
Alternately, “The Fly” at Audubon Park, just behind the Audubon Zoo in Uptown, is an expanse of ball fields and green space from which you can watch magnificent barges push down the river at eye level — and practically at arm’s length.

8. See Treme off-screen.

Experience the real-life companion to David Simon’s HBO series “Treme” by exploring what is sometimes referred to as America’s oldest African-American neighborhood.
You could begin just across Rampart Street from the French Quarter at Armstrong Park. Then make your way to Backstreet Cultural Museum for a Mardi Gras Indian history lesson, worship at a jazz-filled Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church and lunch on Creole gumbo, seafood platters and po-boys at Li’l Dizzy’s Café.

9. Take a Katrina tour.

Katrina tours are touchy, and with good reason. Cruising in air-conditioned buses or vans through previously flooded neighborhoods where the worst possible scenario occurred — and where, more than a decade later, life is hardly back to normal — is inherently controversial.
But seeing the altered neighborhoods with a knowledgeable guide is also the best way to unpack the natural and human-wrought causes behind Hurricane Katrina’s remarkable losses of life, land and property.

10. Drink a Sazerac.

New Orleans had a cocktail culture long before “mixologist” entered the popular lexicon and specialty cocktail bars augmented the nation’s bar topography. Though it’s also drunk in other cities, New Orleans has laid claim to the Sazerac, a stiff drink of rye whiskey, bitters, sugar, absinthe or pastis and a twist of lemon.
Mixologists make reputable versions in their cocktail bars around town, but the best places to drink Sazeracs are where they’ve always done well — in historic hotel bars like the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone or the Sazerac Bar in The Roosevelt New Orleans; and in the city’s oldest restaurants, like Tujague’s and Galatoire’s.

11. Go to Mardi Gras.

If you can’t make it down for the actual holiday, you can still peek at the pageantry.
Tours at Mardi Gras World offer spectacular behind-the-scenes looks at float production and costumes, as well as off-season tastes of king cake.

12. Lunch on fried chicken in the Seventh Ward, twice.

Just two blocks apart, the kitchens at Willie Mae’s Scotch House and Dooky Chase’s Restaurant arguably put out the city’s most consistently fine fried chicken, though only at lunch.
The restaurants and their 90-plus-year-old matriarchs are not at war, but instead coexist peacefully, with differences in ambiance and chicken-frying styles. Willie Mae’s is a more casual restaurant with chicken cooked to order, while Dooky Chase is a white-tablecloth establishment with a lunch buffet.
willie maes fried chicken

13. Turn on the radio.

Wherever you listen to 90.7 WWOZ community-supported radio (you can stream online from anyplace), it sounds like Louisiana. Horns. Accordions. Carnival tunes. Listen long enough and you’ll find your favorite DJs and shows — for us, it’s Bill DeTurk’s New Orleans Music Show on Fridays and the back-to-back Gospel and bluegrass programs on Sunday mornings.
Local food media personality Tom Fitzmorris hosts a three-hour radio show about New Orleans food every weekday afternoon on 1350 AM. It also airs on 105.3 FM on Saturdays. And the local NPR station, WWNO 89.9 FM, is rife with local programming.

14. Find some brass.

Especially in the spring, around Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, it’s nearly impossible to walk down a New Orleans sidewalk without eavesdropping on some school kid practicing his trumpet or her trombone. Music begins in the schools and in the neighborhoods.
Second line parades, which include brass bands, roll every Sunday during the cooler months. And in-between the beads and masks in Carnival parades are junior high and high school marching bands high-stepping and getting the crowds moving.
For nighttime brass sounds year-round, you can count on clubs like Blue Nile, Hi Ho Lounge and Maple Leaf Bar, where the Rebirth Brass Band raises the roof every Tuesday night.

15. See some art, and eat some too.

New Orleans has a centrally located arts district, commonly called the Warehouse District, which is a little-known relative to the city’s more historic and heavily toured neighborhoods. The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is the district’s anchor, though it’s no longer the only attraction.
Additionally, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the National World War II Museum, the Louisiana Children’s Museum and numerous galleries and art spaces have built a neighborhood where you could easily spend a couple of days.
To sweeten the pot, the Warehouse District happens to be a culinary hotbed, with top-tier restaurants like the Link Restaurant Group‘s Cochon and Peche, Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant Emeril’s New Orleans, Adolfo Garcia’s steakhouse La Boca and American Sector at the World War II Museum.
New Orleans transplant Sara Roahen is the author of “Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table.” This story was first published in 2014 and updated in February 2015.

Shopping in NOLA Sucks

Dress shopping did not go well today and I did not get the dress in the mail either.. We were out in Kenner, Esplanade Mall and Metairie, Lakeside Mall today, I went to a few boutiques downtown too,but I just can’t find what I’m looking for. What is it that I’m looking for you may ask, one thing for sure is not a repeat of years ago attending a function and seeing another chic with the exact dress on… Also,I want something that speaks for my personality, which is why I opted to rent a gown. I posted the dress last month, not knowing that the boutique offered Dress Rental in Miami. It was a hand painted black and gold gown priced at $2500, but I paid $150 for a 4 day rental, beautiful. No matter how much money I have I will not spend it on labels, clothes depreciate in value as soon as you take it to the register and labels and spending thousands on clothes do not make you a fashionista.

fashionista 10





One of the things I can’t stand about New Orleans is the shopping, there aren’t but three malls since Katrina, hardly no boutiques, No good shopping on Canal St at all, unless you go into Canal Place or the Riverwalk, but that’s more for tourist. Shopping here is just lame, dead and if you do find something, you will not be the only one with it and yall will bump into each other, wearing it the same day. The mall was dead, its always dead, food court empty, I can hear my echo, it was lame. I love shopping and this experience left me bag less and wondering if I can pull of making my own dress. My mama is a seamstress and I have great fashion sense which would create something fabulous!



I have memories of shopping with my Daddy on Canal St at Krause, Masion Blanche, Lords & Taylor and the list goes on and all those places are gone and it looks like they never will return. We had good times, shopped til we dropped, but my daughter complained about being bored and not finding anything cute. She’s only 7yr old!!! She left without a cute purse, but she did find some hair bows and earrings for me to buy for her.. But going in she was so excited to tag alone asking if she can buy this or that and knowing she would see kids, but nope. It was dead and half of the mall was actually opened. I’m thinking stores closed, because the lack of business or never returned since Katrina.

Will good shopping ever return to New Orleans?? One would think with all the tourist and people on business there would be more shopping options. I know we are known for partying, but you need a nice dress and etc to do that and what if you lose your luggage. Come on New Orleans bring back good shopping!


Here’s an article about the effects Katrina had on shopping.