Essence Festival in New Orleans

Amtrak Station in Tuscaloosa, AL


July started off with a bang in Nawlins (New Orleans) at the Essence Festival. I rode the Amtrak train there. It was a 7-hour train ride.

For my fellow explorers, if you’ve never rode the Amtrak train before, try it. It’s an experience and a comfortable one.


  • The seats have more legroom than on a commercial flight.
  • The seats recline similarly to lazy boy recliners. You can catch some good Zs.
  • With that being said you can close your window curtain or just bring a sleeping mask.
  • You can bring food and beverages (even adult beverages) on the train.
  • The bathrooms are spacious.
  • There are charging outlets near your seat.
  • Affordable tickets if booked a couple of weeks in advance. My roundtrip ticket was $34.
  • Amtrak has a generous baggage policy.


  • Individual cars tend to be really cold (to me) so wear layers or bring a blanket.
  • The trains have a reputation for being late.
  • Wifi is not reliable.
  • There are only designated stops where you can get off the train (if you’re a smoker).
  • If you are a smoker, smoking is not allowed on the train.
Trolley Car in New Orleans, LA


New Orleans is in a class all by itself. The culture, cuisine, people, street cars, art, St. Charles Avenue, the French Quarters, the Riverwalk, the music, live bands, hospitality, and restaurants. There’s no place like it.

The reason Essence continues to bring the festival back annually since 1995.

If you’ve never been to Essence Fest, it’s a music festival but the real magic happens during the day at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – fashion, music, arts, culture, finance, well-being, travel, education, giveaways, line-dancing, multiple DJs, games, surprise guests, invaluable advice, food, etc.

I explain the Essence Festival as a series of Essence magazines brought to life by all the magazine sponsors and contributors.

Friday to Sunday the doors to the convention open at 10 AM and close at 6 PM in preparation for the night concerts held at the Superdome. This does not even include other events such as day parties, boat parties, all-white parties, etc.

In order to navigate this massive event, you will need a plan. What interests you the most?

A way to organize your experience is to download the Essence Festival app and schedule the events/forums most important to you.

For me, it was personal finance and entrepreneurship because you know….I’m

Global Black Economic Forum at Essence Expo


“Your plans will fall apart right in front of you if you fail to get good advice. But if you seek out multiple counselors, you’ll watch your plans succeed.”

Proverbs 16:22 TPT

We spent most of our time absorbing financial advice in the Global Black Economic Forum.

I was happy celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop but there were podcast hosts, business owners, multimillionaires, government officials, financial advisors, coaches, and consultants providing a wealth of information that can aid me in building wealth.

Those Hip Hop legends have their coin. I was on my rich haute housewife coin.

The session I found to be the most beneficial was “Expanding Access to Capital for Minority and Female Entrepreneurs.”

Nicholas Perkins, CEO of Fuddruckers and Perkins Management Services Company and a former SBA/8A program participant was on the panel. Perkins made history as the first black person to own a national burger company. He shared the importance of these subsidies for minorities.

Stephanie Young, the Senior Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris and Deputy Assistant to President Biden

We also heard from Stephanie Young, the Senior Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris and Deputy Assistant to President Biden.

I don’t know about you but I love to be in close proximity to greatness, excellence, and money. Please rub off on me.

Stephanie and other government leaders educated the audience about the following:

  • 8A Business Development Program – minority owned business certification to get federal contracts
  • Small Business Credit Initiative – Biden-Harris $10 billion dollars initiative to help business startups and expansions (check with your state department of economic development – $113 million per state). Click the hyperlink. Enter your zip code. Find your Small Business Development Center.
  • Minority Business Development Agency – a federal agency dedicated to small businesses that offer grants

This forum taught me that if I want to take part in these government incentives, I need to legally organize my businesses.

Oprah Winfrey & The Color Purple Musical Cast


On day one of the Essence Festival, I saw the one and only Oprahhhhhhhh Winfreyyyyyy.

She was there to promote Color Purple, the musical, with Fantasia, Taraji, Angie and the director. It’s dropping in December at a movie theatre near you. Auntie Oprah says there should be nothing purple in American stores in December.

But it wouldn’t be Oprah if she didn’t drop gems and gold for life advice. Personally, I think she’s the ultimate life coach. Born into poverty, passed by the middle class, and now a billionaire.

What she knows for sure is:

  • any question that you have about life is waiting inside of you
  • you can only get to the answer by being still
  • and if you don’t know what to do, you do nothing until the answer rises up inside you
  • make sure you know the intention (the motivation behind the action)
  • because the intention is going to determine the outcome

What is YOUR INTENTION (the motivating factor behind my actions)?

The motivating factor behind my actions are:

  • I want to be a rich haute housewife.
  • I want to live a lavish, leisure, luxury lifestyle.
  • I don’t want to trade time for money.
  • Ultimately, I want to break the generational curse of poverty.
African American Directors & Ghana Actors


To tie into my desire, the Essence Festival had a forum on global expansion from a place that is very dear to my heart, Ghana–my hubby’s homeland.

The panelist (African and African Americans) talked about how tourism and the film industry is booming in Ghana.

Thus far 950,000 + 1.1 million people visited Ghana in 2018 and 2019, respectively. I was there in 2019. By 2025, they are expecting 2 million people to visit Ghana.

If you’ve never been to Ghana or Africa, join the Ghana Crossover Tour and bring in 2024 on the Motherland.

If you desire to level up your wealth consciousness, start by investing in yourself (Practice # 4). I’m reading 12 personal finance books between May and August for 121 days. Join the challenge by clicking here.

Essence Festival 2023 | The Expo Experience | New Orleans, LA #findingchalandamichelle #travelvlog

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