It was the late ‘90s and it was my very first ESSENCE Music Festival. My best friend, Malinda, and I went to New Orleans with every intentions of having a wonderful time. I went through a very traumatic experience in my life and was looking forward to letting my hair down and enjoying what was to come. We arrived that evening before and got settled into our room, then we got out to walk the French Quarters. The next morning we went to the Convention Center where the classes & workshops were taking place. As we entered the building, Malinda begin to chant in a nervous voice, “there goes Johnny Cochran.” As I looked up, he and his people along with his body guard were coming in the direction were we froze. We took out our cameras and began taking shots. As they got close, Malinda jumped behind Attorney Cochran so that I could capture that moment, but his body guard extended his arm to keep us from getting too close to him. Then to our surprise, he smiled and said "It’s ok. Ladies you can take pictures with me." To this day we still have and cherish that moment, little did I know how much these pictures would mean to us. After that we met and took pictures with Marion Berry and his wife, Charles Blackmon of Cameo and the beautiful, nice and down to earth, Victoria Rockwell.
Some of the other highlights were eating at Mother’s, it was worth the wait as well as other restaurants. Then there was the Gay Parade that I will never forget. It very interesting and fun being around such care free people. The beignets are a definitely a must when you visit New Orleans. I had a friend to send me a box to North Carolina. :-) The highlight of the performances for us, was Stevie Wonder who was one of the headliners and a headliner he was. We danced so much that after an hour or so, all I can remember is having to sit down and rock from side to side, what an awesome musician he is! It was great to visit some of the performances in the lounges, I remember them shutting the group “Solo” lounge down, because it was over capacity. We ended our last night by going on the gambling ship after the last concert and staying out til the next morning. We had just enough time to get a taxi back to the hotel, grab our luggage and get to the airport for our flight. As soon as our flight left the ground, I crashed. The entire experience is a must for everyone that enjoyed having a good time. My birthday is July 10th, so there was no gift that could compare to my EMF experience.