Wednesday, July 6, 2011

True Essence

I am back and still recovering from yet another memorable Essence Festival. My body is still aching a bit but it was all worth it. This was my first Essence Fest with Mr. Mixologist, but he is sold on it & we are already planning next years trip. He has some of his cousins on board already & I have some people in my circle who have never been before but are planning to go with us next year. Like I explained to him, many people will talk about going, but not every body will actually make the trip when it's time to make it happen. I have a core group of friends that have been coming for the last 12 years & I cannot imagine doing anything else on the July 4th Weekend.

We got to NOLA, hit the streets to grab some food, adult beverages, and of  course hit a Cigar Bar & get ready for the show. Me & my Beau mixed it up this year & decided to see a different side of New Orleans, so we picked only one Essence Concert which was Friday night  so we could have time exploring the city. The show was wonderful indeed. Dwele and Mint Condition were in the Super Lounges along with Tank. I missed Fantasia on the Main stage because I was listening to Mint Condition but they never disappoint & put on an awesome show. We then saw Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson and Usher on the Main Stage.  Uncle Charlie SHUT IT DOWN. Seriously, I felt sorry for Usher having to come behind that, I mean there was just no way he was going to outdo him. This was my 3rd time seeing Charlie Wilson perform at Essence and his show just constantly gets better. You can tell he loves performing and did not want to leave the stage ! LOL

My Beau's fave spot

Dwele doing his thing !

Saturday morning Hennessy sponsored a brunch at our Hotel as they have for the past 4 years. I was sitting there tweeting, enjoying my food &some Hennessy concoction, when this guy with a camera accompanied by a guy with a boom mike walk up and say, "What are you doing?" I say, " Umm tweeting about this event ?" He then says, I need to get you to say that for me on camera & I proceed to repeat that into the mike & he filmed me and also the actual tweet! I tried to copy my tweet to the blog, but that's a little too technical for me LOL.  Supposedly I am going to be up on their site this week but I haven't been able to find it yet. And that, ladies and gentleman was my Essence Film Debut ! LOL

Enjoying Brunch

 Next up my Soror was hosting a Day Party, with some Belly Dancers, Saxophonist Chris "Soul" Mitchell and up and coming singer Andre Pitre, who just  happens to be Essence Single Man of the Month (May 2011). All of the performers are people that we actually know personally, so we came out to support them & the party was a success despite my friend being so nervous in the previous weeks!

Me & My Soror
Belly Dancers making moves

Soul Mitchell playing his horn !
  Andre Serenading the ladies !

Mr. Mixologist enjoyed himself tremendously. I knew that he had been before so I really didn't get it, but he explained that he came to Essence in the past he was a younger guy, hanging with the fellas, girl watchin' LOL & hanging out on Bourbon Street, doing the meat market thing. That was pretty much it. He had never attended any of the Concerts, any of the seminars or Convention Center activities, never shopped for Art, or attended any of the private parties. He told me that he saw a whole other side of things this year & is very excited to have some of his friends and family join us next year.

Me and my love :)

We spent the rest of the day Saturday at the Convention Center, shopping, and of course eating and drinking ! LOL I got some very nice jewelry, bought a couple of dresses and we both bought new hats. I was so excited to head to the Jazz Playhouse to get to meet one of my favorite writers/bloggers Demetria Lucas, also known as A Belle in Brooklyn. She read from the book, and I actually got a chance to sit and chat with her for a bit and of course get my book signed ! She was very beautiful and gracious. Also while at the event, I met some wonderful bloggers/twitter friends at the event from LA, Memphis & New Orleans !

Leaving our Hotel for  Cocktails with Belle !

Me & Demetria Lucas/ Belle in Brooklyn
 Saturday night Mr. Mixologist took me to a lovely Spanish Restaurant called Lola's with the most awesome food.! We never go anywhere without Yelping it and the reviews were on point. From the Service to the Crab Appetizer, to the Paella, to the Sangria, it was one for the books & we will definitely return. Paella is a rice dish with a bunch of seafood including shrimp, fish, mussels, calamari, We got the combination to share which also included sausage along with vegetables. It was heaven on a plate ! 

Spanish Paella

This crab dip was so fresh !
On our way to the restaurant, our Cab driver actually got lost, and took numerous wrong turns, which actually was a blessing in disguise and ultimately led us to the most valuable discovery of the trip.  We discovered an area of New Orleans called the Frenchman District which neither of us had ever been to before. After dinner we had a different cab driver take us back to that area & boy did we have a good time ! Some of the most talented local bands and singers ever & so many genres of music. We listed to a Reggae Band, some wonderful  Jazz Singers and Blues that first night. We had such a great time that we came back AGAIN on Sunday night & told some friends about it & they showed up too. The second night we listened to a Cuban Band that had everybody on the floor doing Salsa & Merengue ! 

Normally when you come to New Orleans you do the typical Bourbon Street for entertainment, but it was a nice change of pace to enjoy something very different and we just happened upon it. In my 12 years of coming to Essence, I never even knew this area existed, so it's nice to make a new discovery. So make sure when you visit, to make it on over there. It's located near the intersection of Decatur and Esplanade east of the French Quarter area. By mixing it up this year, I really got the true essence of New Orleans culture, not just the commercial aspect and we made some very nice memories ! 

Jazz Band on Frenchman Street
Reggae Band on Frenchman St.
On Monday afternoon when we checked out we met some friends for lunch, and did some more shopping. Of course Mr. Mixologist had to make one last stop at Don Leoncio Cigars. LOL I got some Pralines, and Beignets of course and had my last Hurricane and a Po Boy before we reluctantly headed home. It was a wonderful trip and I am already excited about next year !

Have you ever been to Essence Festival ?

How was your 4th of July ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex


Cerebrally_Orgasmic said...

Looks like a GREAT time!!

Beautifully Complex said...

@Cerebrally Orgasmic
Had a blast.
Thanks for stopping by & commenting !

K. Rock said...

Looks like an awesome time. You look fab! Thanks for sharing.

Beautifully Complex said...

Thanks ! I am still getting used to the new haircut.