The 2015 Essence Festival

With less than sixty days until the 2015 Essence Festival, it is getting harder for me to control my excitement!  I along with three friends will be in attendance for the first time!  Now, I've been to New Orleans, as a teenager on a college tour, so I'm overly excited to experience the city and its rich culture and history (especially the food) as an adult.  Every year large numbers of people from all over, and natives alike, flock to the New Orleans area during Independence Day weekend to experience all of the fun the festival has to offer.  This year the festival runs from Thursday, July 2nd, to Sunday, July 5th.  There's more to the Essence Festival than just musical performances by some of today's hottest artists.  The festival offers empowerment workshops, a host of vendors, and a day party series.  Enough talking.  Here's some of who and what you can expect to find at this year's festival:

Essence Empower U Workshops

  • Money & Power: Singer/Entrepreneur Kandi Burruss is offering tips on starting a side hustle.  Tackle student loan debt with financial expert Lynette Khalani-Cox, and learn inside information on entrepreneurship from small business guru Melinda Emerson.  Also, R&B Diva Kelly Price will be breaking down the do's and don'ts in show biz.
  • Love & Relationships: There will be workshops for singles led by Paul Carrick Brunsonm, Kelli Fisher, and Tanya Gilmore.  There will be sessions for those that are already in a relationship led by Sarah Jakes and Toure' Roberts, and Fawn Weaver.
  • Healthy Living: Join Cynthia Bailey, Gessie Thompson, Tamika Gray Valbrun, and Dr. Cheruba Prabakar for a discussion on living with fibroids.  Also, get help becoming a healthier you from Tonya Lewis Lee, and Shaun T.

Essence Empowerment Experience

Join keynote speakers and panelists Rev. Al Sharpton, Iyanla Vanzant, Sybrina Fulton, Deitrick Haddon, Claudia Jordan, Shaun T, Lynn Whitfield & Grace Gibson, Cynthia Bailey& Noelle Robinson, Alice Randall & Caroline Randall Williams, The Walls Group, Erica Ford, Anita Wilson, and Essence Festival first-timer Deepak Chopra for empowering breakout sessions.  The topics include:

  • #BlackLivesMatter: Exploring the progress of modern day activism and what we must do next.
  • Mother/Daughter Journey: Join a conversation on how to keep this family dynamic strong and honest.
  • Criminal Justice: Protecting our sons and communities from violence.
  • Domestic Violence: Why we all must break the silence.
  • Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later: A look back as a path forward.
  • Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary: The fight is far from over.
  • ...and more!

Concerts at The Louisiana Superdome

  • Thursday, July 2, 2015: The "Now Playing" Concert starring comedian Kevin Hart, Lecrae, and Trey Songz.
  • Friday, July 3, 2015:
    • Main Stage: Charlie Wilson, India Arie, and Kem
    • Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge: Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick
    • Hot Right Now Superlounge: Adrian Marcel and Nico & Vinz
    • Soul of R&B Superlounge: Avery Sunshine and Kelly Price
    • Now Playing Superlounge:  Goapele, Kindred the Family Soul, and Luenell
  • Saturday, July 4, 2015:
    • Main Stage: Sat: Common, Erykah Badu, Missy Elliott, and Usher
    • Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge: Kool Moe Dee and Mystikal
    • Hot Right Now Superlounge: Esperanza Spalding, Mali Music, and Sevyn Streeter
    • Soul of R&B Superlounge: Bilal, Tank and the Bangas, and Tonya Boyd-Cannon
    • Now Playing Superlounge: Elle Varner and Raheem DeVaughn
  • Sunday, July 5, 2015:
    • Main Stage: Floetry, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and Trombone Short & Orleans Ave
    • Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge: Dee 1 and Dumpstaphunk
    • Hot Right Now Superlounge: Andra Day, Lianne La Havas, and SZA
    • Soul of R&B Superlounge: Eric Roberson and Teedra Moses
    • Now Playing Superlounge: Jeff Bradshaw, Robert Glasper, and Tweet

Whoa!  Talk about an eventful and fun-filled weekend!  Stay tuned for more updates on the 2015 Essence Festival!

So tell me, have you ever been to the Essence Festival?  If so, how was your experience?  What are some good places to visit and eat while in New Orleans?