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For over 25 years, Essence Festival has been taking New Orleans by storm each 4th of July weekend. In 1995, the first festival popped up in the Crescent City. Dubbed as the ‘party with a purpose,’ Essence has long been instrumental in bringing millions of dollars to the city’s economy and creating a conjure of Black culture through music, food, and travel.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2004, the Essence Fest team was on the ground providing aid and helping to rebuild the city. 2004 was the only year that the festival was held outside of Louisiana (it moved to Houston temporarily). Each year, festival goers are invited to celebrate Black culture with performances from artists like Janet Jackson and Beyonce. When concerts aren’t happening, the community gathers at the convention center for celebrity panels, demos, and giveaways from brands like Shea Moisture. At Essence Fest, there is absolutely no shortage of love, pride, or “Sis, you look good” compliments.