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After days of gigs and seminars, Essence Fest goers are starting to head home

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — While some Essence festival-goers are staying in town for the July 4 celebration, many more have started heading home. And people who make a living by commuting say the multi-day festival has given their business a huge boost.

Louis Armstrong International Airport was busy as thousands of people attending the Essence festival caught flights out of town.

There was also a lot of activity outside of the downtown hotels, as people who were in town for the festival waited for taxis and rides from Uber and Lyft drivers.

Many like Tomeeka Martin from the Midwest savored the fun they experienced during the festival.

“Just the camaraderie, being around a group of black people enjoying our culture and the community, I think that’s what makes Essence special,” Martin said.

Tamika McClellan is also originally from Illinois.

“It’s my seventh Essence,” McClellan said.

“It felt good, I was glad to be back in New Orleans, I hadn’t been here in about three years, so it was really good to be back here,” McClellan added. .

Jay Johnson and his friend who identified himself only as “Showtime” attended the festival for years.

“The people, the entertainment, the fun, the activities, it’s just the whole vibe, everything that’s going on that keeps us coming back,” Johnson said.

“On the 4th of July weekend, if you’re not in New Orleans for Essence Fest, shame on you,” Showtime said.

For some, the daytime activities at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are just as popular as the nightly concerts at Caesar’s Superdome. “It’s so educational with the convention center too, so it keeps us coming back every year. This is my 14th year,” Showtime said.

This year’s festival was the first in-person Essence Fest since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solimn Yasser is a taxi driver.

“Yeah, we get business, we get good business with the Essence, usually we get really busy with the Essence Festival, so we got the business back,” Yasser said.

An Uber driver who said his name was Anthwan was also happy to be so busy.

“Gasoline [Festival]exactly, definitely the Essence, just coming and going, dropping people off at restaurants, the convention center and airports, definitely the Essence,” he said.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell issued the following statement on July 4, 2022 regarding the Essence Festival.

“Black joy spread to every corner of our city this weekend. The positivity and uplifting spirit that thousands of Black women have brought to our city has produced a positive, safe and successful Essence Festival weekend. “On behalf of the City of New Orleans, I want to thank our Essence family for leading the way and once again shining a light on the excellence of black women. And thank you to all of the performers, producers, artists, small business owners, sponsors and to our global audience of black women for a transformative weekend of culture and love. See you next year!”

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