As you guys know it was my very first time going to the Essence Music Festival and although I am not the kind to frequent concerts(I am going to see Beyonce though next week) I did want to see what it was all about. When I was invited out and found out it was all inclusive, I jumped at the opportunity! I have never been to New Orleans and wanted to see the city and had heard many great stories about this place!
After visiting, getting back home safely, I have finally got my thoughts together. Quite frankly, I am just going to spit it all out on what I really thought about everything! Here is my disclaimer. My views and opinions are my own and have nothing to do with the pr company, brands and Essence, this is just what I experienced, observed and witnessed while being there, so I don’t hold any of them accountable at all. Y’all know I don’t sugar coat stuff, keep it real and blunt so here goes…..
I’ve NEVER seen Prince perform and I want to let you guys know that he put on an AWESOME show! He was so entertaining, great stage presence and he song lots of his hits, I really admire him and his craft! He also still looks handsome as ever!
I met a new friend/cut buddy on my press junket that I bonded with right away named, Nicole Williams! She’s a crazy gal like me, outspoken, full of energy and so funny! She is from New York City and is also a professional makeup artist with a beauty blog called, Style Makers Tv! You guys check her out, she is a doll face!
My gumbo from Little Gem Saloon was EVERYTHING and a bag of chips! If you visit New Orleans check them out, their food was really good!
The VIP Lounge backstage at the Essence Music Fest was on point! Food stations everywhere, cocktails, lots of seating and photo booths, I enjoyed this a lot!
The access to lots of celebrities was pretty cool for interviews/photo opts.
The private dinner parties/events were amazeballs!
I liked watching fitness instructor Body by Debbie work out on stage, she killed it!
The swag bags were really nice! It was full of tech gifts that will come in handy! Thanks to McDonalds, Verizon Wireless, P&G and Ford!
When locals make fun and joke about how awful their city is, there is something majorly wrong! Did you guys know that in the inner city they don’t have grocery stores? Most of the poor don’t even have cars etc to get around so they often shop at Family Dollar or other stores like that for their food! No vegetables or fruit? I know this because I had to make a quick dash to one to pick up something and people in the long lines were discussing this. A damn shame!
An off-duty detective told me that it’s still a lot of crime, violence and government officials who are milking the system! Corrupt things are still going on in New Orleans, so much shady practices that I don’t even care to type them but it was pretty eye opening. He even wrote a book about it and fears for his life now!
It was pretty dirty in New Orleans, sorry it was! I don’t know if they dont have the budget to hire people to clean or just do not care but I was not impressed with the upkeep of the city. Bourboun street was full of homeless people, drug dealers, it smelled like urine and garbage was everywhere with NO bathrooms! Yuck!
The customer service is awful! Don’t like your food or have a complaint? They don’t care about you! Customer service in New Orleans is really bad and they move really, really slow! I had to argue with managers a lot about bad service and got the blank stare. NOBODY cares and have a laxy daisy attitude. I have never experienced this type of behavior in my life! I had about 25 people tell me their same horrid stories too and how they were treated throughout the entire trip, sad!
I kept warning them too that I had a huge blog and they could have cared less lol. Welp, now look! I hope they do better, because now you’ve ended up on my blog and not in a good way! Smh!
My friend’s package was sent to the wrong room and they didn’t care that they made a mistake. Didn’t offer to do anything about the mistake either! Then the person who received the wrong package didn’t want to return the items. WTH? Finally upper management did something about it after many complaints but it took them forever. Really?
Every place we went to eat was pretty much short-staffed and they knew it was Essence Festival weekend but again, NOBODY cared and you waited long amounts of time for food, drinks etc. Awful!
Singer Lionel Richie kinda bombed and people left that stadium by the thousands while he was performing. People kept saying his songs were dated and that he should have went on before Charlie Wilson. They said he talked too much and it looked like a Vegas show, people were not feeling him. I felt bad for him, I really did!
My room had roaches in it! I saw them crawling around by the coffee and ice bucket stand. I immediately called down to the front desk and they were like, “oh, ok we will send someone up” but she was another person who didn’t care one bit and seemed unbothered from her tone. At 2:30am in the morning they FINALLY come up and “look” for the bugs. They find one and put it in a plastic bag and says, “Ok, you have German cockroaches…goodnight!” Are you out of your mind? I call back down and they say, “yes he informed us that you had bugs we’ve noted it”. NEVER offered to move me or compensate me! Think twice before staying at the Hilton Riverside!
Didn’t really care for the time spent at the Conference Center during Essence Fest. It was a lot of standing around and just looking at d-list celebrities. It really was not that interactive just folks on stage like, look at me I’m a star, take my pic…ok bye! I also didn’t understand how people stood in long lines for hours just to get a bag with NOTHING in it! I was bored and ready to go after one hour!
Overall I had a nice time and I use that word very “loosely”. When I looked at the locals and the area, it reminded me of slavery days when people were severely depressed and overworked. It kinda sent out a negative vibe to me. I had a chance to talk to a few people and they were pretty upset in how they lost their homes, shady business practices with government officials and how they got ripped off with their land. It’s been over 9 years now and they still seem to be sad and heart broken. When we road around, lots of neighborhoods had started to rebuild but you could tell they ran out of money because it was a lot of unfinished homes and empty lots just sitting there. Still LOTS of homeless people/displaced families sleeping under the bridges in tents.
I’m sorry all this happened to these great people in this historical city but still, I don’t see the hype in why people say that New Orleans is the place to go, especially with the food lol. I thought the food was mediocre and trust me, we visited a lot of popular restaurants. Maybe it’s my tastebuds but not really because I had lots of others say the same! If I was just visiting on my own, NO telling what I would have experienced but luckily I went with a huge media group, so they kinda took care of us but I was thinking the whole time, what if? I hope it turns around for this great city.
I can see great potential in this place but again, I really was NOT impressed at all and left disappointed! Would I return? Not if I had to spend my own money, I’d rather spend it elsewhere. I would go back for business purposes only. From the food, to the hospitality they need to fix it and fix it fast because at the end of the day, tourism is ALL they have now and if they don’t make big changes, this will be a city lost! Till next time! xoxo