Small and/or Black owned Business Guide
You cannot deny that New Orleans is an oasis of black history and culture. Visitors can trace bits of the African diaspora throughout the artwork, religious practices, and music. Of course there is also strong mixture of French and African as well. The Creole people and their culture are a perfect example of how the mixture can coexist in one. New Orleans through my eye is a beautiful urban place. I have been to New Orleans three times total and one time at Essence Festival. I hold New Orleans near my heart because it was my first ever solo trip as an adult and it gave me the push to know I could travel. New Orleans as a city you cannot find anywhere else in the world, so do not try just go visit the city. My advice is to venture out of the tourist areas (Bourdon Street, French Quarters and Canal Street) and go see the authentic side of New Orleans. Also you do not need a special occasion or festival to plan a trip but if you are going for your first Essence Festival or for a girl’s trip in general here are a few tips on both! My first Essence festival happened in 2017, on a true adventures whim for me. My co-worker and two of her friends were going and had room for me for I tagged along! This being my first group trip ever with 3 girls I do not really know that well, a spontaneous two day weekend trip, and my favorite city in the world; I was ready for an adventure.
First, lets talk Essence Festival because it is right around the corner July 5-8, 2018. After the success of the movie “Girls Trip,” everyone is running to Essence Festival! However, looking at the price of the concerts tickets, you may hesitate about attending no worries the day events are F R E E ! You just need to download the app on your phone to get into the events. The app provides the daily itinerary so you don’t have to keep track of everything that you want to do. You just check in on with convince of your phone. There is so much to do during the day for everyone from fashion shows, to shopping, fitness classes, and celebrities meet and greet and my personal favorite private screenings. Last year I attended the Claws premier and got to meet Karrueche Tran and Niecy Nash! I almost scream but I held it down. Also, I got to meet Kenya Moore (Real Housewives of Atlanta) and Kofi Siriboe (Queen Sugar & Girls Trip; side note he is SOO cute in person!) If you are interested in going to the concert they have tickets that fits everyone’s budget so do not worry. Also, you can purchase single day tickets vs. the whole weekend package ranging from $80-$150. I suggest making the best of your experience and placing an itinerary based on your interest. I personally skipped the concerts last year because I was not interested in the performers.
In 2017, Essence Festival brings in over $200 million in revenue to New Orleans every year but many small and/or black owned businesses hardly see any of that money. There are many reasons for that but the main one is lack of knowledge from the festival goers. So here are few small or black owned businesses that I suggest stopping by on your NOLA journey:
Studio Be, a black owned art gallery. The artist Brandon "BMike" Odums took an abandoned warehouse and made it his own. You have to straying away from the beaten path of tourist to see this gallery but it is worth it. My girlfriends and I was lucky enough to go explore; visitors can see the passion and intellect that is associated with his work. The art gives a message that varies by person so I am not going to give you guys my input just yet, but if you are into art please stop by and support. Admission is $10 but if you buy something in the store admission is free.
La Musee de f.p.c.- I have NOT visited this museum personally but if you are in the area you should stop by. The beautiful Victorian style home was turned into a museum dedicated to the free people of color in New Orleans. It provides personal stories of the culture of the people and provides a different insight on black folks.
Frankie and Johnny's Restaurant- this place is located in Uptown area. The restaurant gives off the vibes of a very down home country restaurants. The menu offers seafood and creole foods with a Louisiana favor. In my opinion, the food was seasoned just right for my fried shrimp and seafood gumbo. The menu does not offer a huge selection but mostly the main New Orleans staple foods.
Little Dizzy Cafe- specializes in breakfast, brunch and lunch with Louisiana soul food. Little Dizzy Cafe offers buffet style and regular service options. This is a black owned business off the beaten path of tourist New Orleans. The owner is personally there in the restaurant helping customers and staff along the way. I suggest calling ahead before arriving we waited 45 minutes for a table but it was worth it!
Café Dauphine- this restaurant is located in the Lower 9th Ward but worth the trip. They specialize in southern comfort food. The menu may seem simple but the food is delicious and flavorful. I never been to the actual restaurant but I had the food carried out and it some of the best fish I ever had.
Munch Factory- This is hands down the best creole inspired restaurant in New Orleans. The restaurants offer’s classic dishes like gumbo and shrimp & grits and I few creative dishes inspired by New Orleans. Please for me and your taste buds try the Bayou Fries.
Cafe Du Monde- Okay, Okay, I know this place is neither small and/or black owned business but honestly you cannot seriously go to New Orleans as a tourist without eating beignets. I suggest pairing it with a hot coffee or chocolate for a relaxing evening snack. It is located right in front of Jackson Square just look for the line wrapped around the corner and green sign, you cannot miss it.
So if you are in the area anytime please try and visit these small and/or black owned establishments. If you only skimmed this article here are the high lights and important tips: