Friday, July 03, 2015

Blogging from the Big Easy

After several attempts I am finally here in the Big Easy. New Orleans, Louisiana...NOLA. The N.O. Yassss, I have made it to the 2015 Essence Festival. Finally. 

My black is beautiful!

Cali in the house! We were definitely in the building. We made our way to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for the panel discussions, exhibits, speakers, vendors, food, all of it that is a part of the Essence Festival, you know?

While there I got a chance to meet and take a pic with artist Thomas Blackshear. I am an avid collector of black figurines so when I spotted him I was too excited to meet him and couldn't believe he was willing to take a pic with me. He was so nice. He had a booth full of wondrous black art such as wall hangings and figurines. If you are not aware of who Thomas Blackshear is please check out his site or google him. His art will give you life.

Concert night...boy oh boy. We got tickets the day of while we were at the convention center so we had to run home and get all dressed up for the concert. The performances included Common, Usher, Missy Elliott who brought out Monica, Jasmine Sullivan and another artist she's working with and last but not least Erykah Badu. And you know she is a mess. She was clowning talking about she heard Common do "her" song which is the song they have together "Love of My Life" which he did with a background singer SO she turned around and did the same song. She's hilarious.
The thing about the Essence fest is there is so much going on at the same time that you have to basically pick and choose which performer you want to see. I would have loved to see Mary J Blige, Kendrick Lamar, just sooo many performances that it makes your head spin. We had to sacrifice what was going on in other parts of the arena to see the performers on the main stage; however, we weren't disappointed. No mam. Steve Harvey was the MC and he had us in tears laughing at his ass. He had a lil dating game situation going on it was hilarious.

I also got a chance to go on a tour of Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. At first I was kinda curious while feeling apprehensive about visiting the plantation because of our history and the horrors of slavery that I know have occurred there. Even though we were informed Beyonce and a few others have filmed music videos there, I felt weird walking thru the halls as if it was some type of novelty, tourist attraction; however, once there and the guide began to talk and give us the history of the place my mind took a turn.

I ended up enjoying the tour very much. I learned a lot about the Stewart family that owned the Oak Alley sugar plantation, their enslaved and its 175 year old history. Here are a few photos I took while on my tour there. I took the photo of the large fan hanging over the dining room table because our guide had pointed out a small chair that sat in a corner. He informed us that a child most likely under the age of 7 would have sat there all day tugging on a string that would cause the fan to sweep back and forth keeping the room cool. I have a 5 1/2 year old grandson and the thought was more than heart-breaking but I got over that because each room had similar information as to what type of tasks the slaves would have for each job. Notice my friend had to take this opportunity for a black power pose. Indeed mama.

 We drove thru the 9th Ward because we wanted to see the destruction of and rebuilding of the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Of course while we were driving thru it began raining hard and fast so the driver stepped on the gas and I was only able to snap these pics while we were on the run like bank robbers.


We wanted to visit the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum but unfortunately it was closed on this particular day. Plus as I mentioned the rain started falling and we were outta there like...

I also got a chance to go to Treme to attend a speaking engagement at a bookstore. The speaker was a professor from LSU and the topic of discussion was the difficulty in getting students back in school after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina because of the lack of teachers as well as the school districts bringing in teachers from other states while the teachers originally from those vary schools were still displaced. The discussion was a heated one and it seems the school districts were offering very large sums of money PLUS perks to these outside teachers to come in and do the very same job that the original teachers were not only qualified and willing to do but wanted to do. Of course they wanted their jobs back....duh. It seemed unreal and the parents were dealing with the Choice Program, which we have hear in San Diego. According to the parents, often times school assisted transportation to get their children to these other schools wasn't actually a viable option. It was like a carrot was be being dangled in their face. The carrot being their child's education at a better school when the system was still in can I get my child to a school further away when busing hasn't resumed and I have to go to work everyday earlier than my child needs to be there to support my family? So can s/he really go that school.....ummm....right.  

The nightlife or should I say partying on Bourbon Street don't stop. The turn up is real and stays on repeat. Plenty of bars, restaurants, burlesque bars and the like line the streets and the traffic keep them busy all night long. You can find all types of entertainment on Bourbon Street. There's something for everyone. Here's a pic of local law enforcement waiting for something or someone to pop off so they can giddy on up on their ass.

Plenty of the bars offer live entertainment. Lots of chances for drinking (responsibly of course) and dancing. All types of music as well. No one would feel left out.

Gator Bites anyone? I brought some home for souvenir purposes and they were a big hit. I also got Gator meat sticks. Wanna bite?

The French Quarter and Louisiana as a whole, of course, is full of history. I had to ask what are these miniature horses doing along the street...they are hitching posts to assist in getting up on the horse that is posted there. Some of these posts have been there since the Victorian Days.

I spotted this newspaper at the gas station as soon as I got off of the plane. Smh. Just putting folks on blast and letting anyone with two eyeballs see all of the business. Look at me talking ish after I not only picked one up but am here telling y'all about it as well. Well we've already established that I'm nosey, I think I've mentioned that 5150 times.

I am planned on hitting as many events as I can possible fit in each 24 hour period. I have compiled a list of fliers of parties and such that look like potentials. 

Check em out and share em if you got em.

Until next time...Go forth and read, comment and share!! Bye loves :)

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