Summer in the South
Can you believe it? Another summer is here and this means the Essence Music Festival is revving up again. It has been held in New Orleans since 1994. That is, except for 2006, when it was held in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Katrina – an event that none of us will ever forget.
DATES FOR THE ESSENCE FEST IN JULY
This year it will be held from Thursday, July 4th until Sunday, July 7th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome located in the Central Business District on Sugar Bowl Drive in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Superdome is a domed sports and exhibition facility that has hosted Super Bowls, major concerts and festivals of all kinds. The roof can be opened or closed in roughly 12 minutes at the push of a button.
Last year the Essence festival was a great success – and you can expect even more of everything this year. This event is America’s biggest annual celebration of Black culture. It focuses on music, film, fashion, TV, beauty, politics, community activism and much more. Attendees can enjoy a star-studded lineup of R&R, hip-hop, jazz and blues performances during the July 4th weekend.
The sponsor of this festival is Essence magazine that began in May 1970 and was described as “a lifestyle magazine directed to upscale African American women.” The first issue hit the stands with a circulation of 50,000. Currently, it is well over one million.
THE MID-SUMMER “MARDI GRAS” IN AUGUST
Here we go again! “Did we hear, ‘A Mardi Gras’ celebration in the last weekend of August?” Sure, why not?
The Krewe of OAK (Outrageous and Kinky) holds their mini-Mardi Gras every year around the last weekend in August. (A very good time to do this because September is always quite sensible with vacations done and over, back-to-school, etc.) The party kicks off at the Maple Leaf Bar which is located at 8316 Oak Street. This bar is a must-see nighttime destination in the Riverbend area because of its juke joint vibe that New Orleans visitors and residents love. It even has a small dance floor directly in front of the stage where one can work up a sweat (and yes, live New Orleans-type music is on board). There’s also a welcoming back patio where one can relax with a drink. And guess what? You can smoke on the back patio or in front of The Maple Leaf itself.
SOUTHERN DECADENCE 2019 IN NEW ORLEANS
This six-day Labor Day Weekend annual event bills itself as “The Gay Mardi Gras” and will be held this year from Thursday, August 29th through Monday, September 2nd.
Looking back, we’re happy to report that 2018 broke all records, with over 250,000 gay and lesbian plus bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $275 million.
The French Quarter is packed for the entire event but the big day is Sunday, September 1st when the Grand Marshals lead the annual walking parade through the streets. THIS BEGINS AT 2:00 PM.
Most street party activities take place close to the French Quarter and the GAY BARS NEVER CLOSE so there’s something happening around the clock.
Weather in July and August in NOLA: a high of 92 degrees, a low of 76 degrees, 13 days of rain in July; 11 days of rain in August. Hurricane season is June to November while peak travel is February to May.
TAKE NOTE: The two stately, antebellum Rathbone Mansions on Esplanade Avenue are SIX MINUTES away from the French Quarter if you’re looking for great place to stay.