Traditionally held over Fourth of July weekend every summer in New Orleans, we look forward to Essence Fest all year for its one-of-a-kind celebration of Black culture. This year, the festival has gone virtual with two back-to-back weekends of music, entertainment and empowerment from June 25-28 and July 2-5. Performances will benefit and celebrate essential heroes, Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Essence Festival of Culture will proceed with performances from Bruno Mars, Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Common, and more artists. Virtual experiences will include workouts from the Wellness House, makeup tutorials from the Beauty Carnival, career and personal finance sessions, and a Sunday Gospel performance to close out each weekend of the festival. The best part – it’s all free! Check out more on virtual Essence Fest here.
While we’re enjoying the best of the fest from our living rooms, let’s not forget that New Orleans’ Black-owned restaurants, shops and attractions are open for business, both in person and online. Make sure to give some extra love to these businesses during this year’s Essence Festival.
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. Whether you have crawfish bread or a red velvet waffle, you can't go wrong.
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.
This Arts/Warehouse District-based eatery offers a selection of French and Afro-Creole cuisine fit for fine dining. Indulge in escargots, pain perdu and New Orleans-style gumbo during your visit to Vyoone’s.
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 at The Munch Factory, now with locations in the Lower Garden District and Gentilly.
Willie Mae's is a local and international favorite, known for its simple menu and famous fried chicken. Don’t sleep on this restaurant next time you’re in the mood for some delicious soul food.
New Orleans' craft cocktail scene comes to life at this sleek and sophisticated downtown establishment. Choose between specialty drinks or New Orleans classics, or let the highly skilled mixologist do the choosing for you.
Party with the locals at this neighborhood watering hole. Even if there isn’t a big game on, Bullet’s is the go-to neighborhood gathering spot for drinks and good times.
Calling all wine lovers! Second Vine is great for wine tastings or relaxing with friends.
Specializing in African and African American books, clothing and art, Material Life is a hidden gem nestled along historic Bayou Road.
Internationally renowned artist, Shakor, sells his colorful New Orleans inspired art in the heart of the French Quarter.
The best part of Loretta’s Pralines is that they can be shipped to your doorstep from New Orleans with love. 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. Place an order next time you’re craving a sweet treat.
Located in the French Quarter on Toulouse Street, you’ll find this women’s boutique that sells items for every body type.
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.
This natural hair salon specializes in an array of services and styling techniques including Deva Curl Cuts and styling, braids, flat twists, wash and goes and much more.
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.
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 Tremé neighborhood.
Nestled within Armstrong Park, Congo Square was an 18th century gathering place for slaves in New Orleans. Today, the square is home to various festivals throughout the year but can be visited at any time for an enriching experience. Visit Congo Square and you’ll find sculptures, historical markers for learning more and the greenspace of the park.
The oldest African-American church in New Orleans is beautifully located in the heart of Tremé.
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.