This week many people will be heading down to New Orleans for the 2013 Essence Music Festival.  This weekend is fun-filled with the best musical concerts with headliners such as Beyoncé, Jill Scott and Mint Condition.  Visitors to New Orleans can indulge in the most delicious cuisines from gumbo to beignets.  From the culture, history, sightseeing, and the residents New Orleans is a gracious and entertaining host.  This weekend is when the beautiful people come out to play.  It’s a time where the common-folk can rub elbows with the celebrities and where everyone can feel like a star.  So before you zip up your suitcase and head for the airport or jump into your vehicle and hit the road; you need to make sure you have the following things with you.  These items are essential to surviving the 2013 Essence Music Festival.

  1. Patience: You and your group of girls are not the only one in town for the 2013 Essence Music Festival.  So be considerate to individuals who are also waiting in the same lines as you.  Realize that people share the same ‘to do’ list as you.  So if eating at Mother’s is on your list no matter how early you get there prepare to stand in line.  Be friendly and meet new people while you wait.  Most importantly leave the attitude at your hotel-no one wants to hear your huffing and puffing.
  2. Nasal Spray: For my allergy sufferers, and individuals with sensitive sinus issues make sure to bring your allergy medications.  I have travelled to New Orleans at least 6 times during the Essence Music Festival and each time it has never failed- myself and people traveling with me have had a heightened sensitivity to the weather and needed medication.
  3. Foot File and Conditioning Socks: You will most definitely be pounding the pavement.  Many people forgo renting a vehicle and decide to take the more scenic approach to New Orleans, they walk everywhere.  For anyone who has ever walked a New Orleans street they can attest to the challenges of the pavement.  So when you return to your hotel room make sure to file the back of your heels, and give your feet some TLC with some conditioning socks and Vaseline.  This will ensure that you will have extra sexy feet when you go to step out for your nighttime activities.
  4. Comfortable Shoes: Here is a rule of thumb.  Stilettos are cute for the concerts and clubs but flats are better for the concrete.  However, make sure you have the right kind of flats.  If you plan on wearing the dollar flip-flops you might as well go Flintstones Bedrock and walk barefoot because your feet will be jacked up!  While we understand you want everyone to see your shoes that match the outfit, wear your flats as you walk to the concert and then change into your sexy shoes before you hit the doors.  Trust me, your feet will thank you for it.  And you will be able to dance the night away at the concerts.
  5. Camera: It is almost a guarantee that you will run into a celebrity.  So have your camera ready and practice your pose beforehand.  There will be plenty of people who also want to take a picture with ‘that’ celebrity as well so be able to get the picture quickly.
  6. An Appetite: Do yourself a favor when in New Orleans; eat like you are in New Orleans.  Don’t bring your ‘salad’ mentality this weekend.  Indulge in all that New Orleans has to offer.  There are so many restaurants to try including one of my favorites, Mulate’s.
  7. Business Cards: People from all over the world come to the 2013 New Orleans Music Festival.  Just because it is a vacation does not mean that you can’t do some networking.  Bring your business cards, flash-drives, look-books, and a ‘30-second elevator tell-me-about-yourself’ approach with you.  I have witnessed this first-hand, where that person you need to get ‘that thing’ to walks right by and you aren’t prepared.  Do yourself a favor if you are looking to make some connections, have eyes and ears open, and stay prepared.
  8. Money: This is an excellent weekend for picking up southern cookbooks, art from local artists such as Jon Guillaume at, candles from French Quarter Candles & Fleur de Light Lanterns tm, (my favorite candle is the Faubourg Marigny), body scents from Mecca Essential Salts & Bath Products (one of my favorite bath scents is QUEEN).  And there is this one artist who creates beautiful watercolor paintings with your name.  Every time I visit I have to get a painting from him.  There are many New Orleans native artisans with talent.  Support local artists and if you chat with them for a while you can even learn some history about New Orleans.
  9. Empty Luggage: You will be surprised on how much great free swag you will accumulate from this weekend.  The Essence Music Festival tailors to the African American woman.  There will be everything from hair products to Ford vehicle giveaways.  Take advantage of this by carrying an over-sized bag with you while out during the day events and seminars hosted at the Convocation Center.
  10. 3 Great Girlfriends: The most important thing about the 2013 Essence Music Festival is being able to enjoy it with a great group of girlfriends.  You will get to experience all that New Orleans has to offer.  Whether by plane or by vehicle, use this time to celebrate the fabulous women that you are.  This is a weekend that celebrates YOUR beauty.  So make sure that you have beautiful, pretty, colorful sundresses and a Kodak smile to capture all of the memories from this weekend.  I guarantee you this will go down as one of the best girlfriend getaways you ever experienced.

New Orleans and the 2013 Essence Music Festival is a perfect combination of culture, history, music, fun and celebration.  If you are fortunate enough to be in the midst of the activities this weekend take pride in knowing that this event was created especially for you.  So don’t be surprised if someone wants to take a picture with you, because you are a celebrity.  Just saying…

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