What I Ate and What I Wore In NOLA
New Orleans. NOLA. N’awlins. I love this city. The food, the music, and the people make it a place that I look forward to visiting every year. For the past four years in a row, I’ve gone to New Orleans on the Fourth of July weekend to attend the Essence Festival with family. It’s a jam-packed weekend of celebrity sightings and concerts from a range of artists. This year’s festival was on the heels of the super popular movie Girls Trip, so it was more crowded than years past; but, I still had fun! Here’s a look at What I Ate and What I Wore:
We usually get to New Orleans a day before the festival actually starts in order to get settled into our hotel and do a bit of sightseeing. This year, we walked around Bourbon Street - which is definitely an experience day or night. Before we got to Bourbon, we stopped by the restaurant Borgne for a bite to eat.
What I Ate:
- Shrimp Stuffed Toast - very tasty!
Later that evening, we stopped for some wings and Catfish at We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp.
What I Ate: Fried Catfish plate - unfortunately I don’t recommend this. That said, I’ve heard great things about their wings!
Friday marked the official start of Essence Fest! We spent the day at the convention center meeting celebrities and visiting the different expos from several major companies. Before heading to the concerts that night we stopped to eat at Saint Lawrence’s. I have to admit that this was a last minute find, because most of the more popular restaurants were booked. We ended the night at the Superdome where we saw artists like Miguel, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and a surprise performance by Kirk Franklin!
What I Ate: Gumbo (because if you don’t have it in New Orleans, did you really go?)
Saturday was also filled with time spent at the convention center and concerts. Mary J. Blige was the headliner that night, and she killed it! Given the massively (and borderline overwhelming) crowds during the day, it was almost impossible to get a table at any restaurant. I had to settle for... FOOD COURT FOOD. Heavy sigh.
What I Wore:
Sunday was more low key than the previous days of the weekend. We went to the convention center, but only for a short time. We picked up some clothes from HGC Apparel, who had a booth set up alongside several other boutiques. We also saw a couple more celebs. After leaving the convention center, we ate a restaurant that came highly recommended- Neyow’s. This Creole restuarant's walls are lined with photos of different celebrities that have eaten there.
What I Ate:
- Gumbo...again. Are you judging?
- Stuffed Shrimp with mac & cheese and green beans. In my honest opinion, it wasn't as great as the hype, but I enjoyed my meal!
Monday was the day that we headed home; however, we had a few hours to kill before we had to head to the airport. Because a lot of people had already headed home, the crowds died down and we were able to hit a couple of our favorite spots - Cafe Du Monde and Drago's Seafood.
What I Ate:
- Cafe Du Monde: A beignet - DUH.
- Drago's: Seafood Pasta (to die for) and I tried their signature Chargrilled Oysters. I'm not crazy about Oysters in general, but these were pretty good!
Overall, I enjoyed my time in New Orleans the year for the Essence Festival. If you're thinking of going to Essence Fest in the future, here are a few tips:
- Book your hotel EARLY. Like, now. Yesterday. But seriously, hotels book up pretty fast, so I would get your group together and find a place to stay pretty quick.
- Do not wear heels! You do a ton of walking at the convention center and to and from the Superdome - sometimes on cobblestone streets. Trust me. Your feet will thank you.
- Don't be afraid to speak to celebrities. They come to Essence Fest to meet and greet with their fans, so don't be afraid to ask for a photo!