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Essence Festival

Essence Festival 13_LargelogoESSENCE’s 19th annual gathering of music, culture, community, empowerment and inspiration has a brand new look and a new name. The new 2013 ESSENCE Festival—recently renamed to reflect the event’s expanded cultural focus—will take place July 4-7 in New Orleans, LA. This year’s Festival promises to bring “the page to the stage” with 4 days of entertainment and information on health, careers, education, civil rights, relationships, style, beauty and more that will get you into the Festival groove!

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Lance Gross, Rebecca Jeffersona and friends

Lance Gross, Rebecca Jeffersona and friends (PHOTO CREDIT – Collins Metu & Marlen Adams Photography & Graphic Design)

(from PMG Media Group) – Actors Laz Alonso and Lance Gross hosted the Hennessy V.S and London Boy Productions All White Affair at Republic during the Essence Festival over the weekend. Lance was accompanied by his long time girlfriend, stylist Rebecca Jefferson. The two snapped photos together the entire night while they partied with their crew. Actor Pouch Hall was also in attendance and played emcee for the night welcoming people to the event over the microphone. Laz Alonso was very friendly with everyone and was spotted chatting and taking several photos with fans.

In addition, Hennessy held the “Hennessy V.S Very Special Brunch” at the International House in New Orleans on over the weekend. R&B singer Avant surprised the crowd and performed his hit song, “Good Love”. The singer, who’s upcoming album, “Face The Music” will be released in February, was spotted chatting with fellow singer, Glenn Lewis and Houston rap legend, Bun B.

PHOTO CREDIT – Collins Metu & Marlen Adams Photography & Graphic Design

All hail queen Beyonce! She sold out – and closed out – the 2013 Essence Festival. The fest attracted tens of thousands of visitors to New Orleans over the weekend.

And before you ask, Beyonce’s electrifying performance didn’t cause a blackout in the Superdome this time.

Essence Festival 2013 is heating up. The 4-day celebration of music, empowerment, and community draws in visitors from near and far; all here to build lasting memories.

“Looking to enjoy some of the seminars, concerts, just have a good time,” visitor Joy Fleming said.

Some 400-thousand participants are pouring into the city; and with them comes their money.

The economic impact on both the city and state stands at more than 100-million dollars over the July 4th weekend.

WGNO New Reporter Darian Trotter asked, “What are some of the things you’ll spend money on? Food, good food,” Fleming replied.

“Clothes, shoes, pocket books, jewelry, always,” visitor Evette Smith said.

“Some of the shows, concerts of course, always souvenirs to take back home,” Fleming said.

Trotter asked, “What’s your budget? I don’t have one,” visitor Tonia Bowie replied.

Essence says this year attendance and ticket sales are up.

It’s no wonder why the same is true for hotel occupancy.

People are already lining up at downtown restaurants.

Bars and other businesses are benefiting too.

The Essence crowd is credited annually with helping boost business during the summer slump.

“And of course the long-term impact is a lot of people come down here who’ve never been to the city of New Orleans and the fall in love with it and they always come back over and over,” restaurant co-owner Moe Bader said.

At The Society Page manager Willie Mackie is looking forward to showing customers old and new a changed atmosphere.

The Bar has been completely renovated.

“We had a tremendous crowd last night and if it’s any indication of what we’re going to do this weekend, we’ve got all hands on deck,” Willie Mackie said.

So for a group of Columbia South Carolina group, and scores of others, options for food and drink are endless.

“We’ve stocked up the bar, we’ve stocked up everything and we’re ready,” Mackie said.

Musical performances are slated Friday through Sunday, with Beyonce closing out the weekend.

New Olreans’ native Kourtney Heart will be performing at Essence Fest this year, but gave a sneak preview on Thursday’s edition of Good Morning New Orleans.  Heart is one of the youngest artists to have three back-to-back appearances at Essence Fest.  Her hit single My Boy, featuring Soulja Boy and New Orleans legend Magnolia Shorty, led to her first major deal with Jive Records. She recently released her newest project called A Gemini’s Diary.  Heart performs Sunday, July 7th at the Ford Superlounge.

Kenny Lopez Reports 07/04/13

Vanessa Bush from Essence Magazine previews some of this weekend’s Essence Festival events including Family Reunion Day; Save Our Sons/Guns Down; and the Love, Loss, and Life Sunday Prayer Vigil.

Get more information on all the Essence Festival events on their webpage:

LOGO-277×177WGNO is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the Essence Festival!

Just watch News with a Twist at 5PM and 6PM between Monday, June 24 and Friday, June 28. We’ll give you a different secret word in each broadcast.

Then click this link to submit the secret word and enter the contest:

To see the official rules, click here.

Good luck!

A look at the history and tradition of Flambeaux tradition. (Alyson Titkemeyer)

captureThis year’s newly-rebranded ESSENCE Festival will be jam-packed with performances from a host of top stars, all of whom will take the stage in New Orleans over four days, starting July 4th.  Among the more than 30 acts who’ll be performing this year: Brandy, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, LL Cool J, New Edition, Mint Condition, Jody Watley, Blackstreet, Big Daddy Kane and more.

This year’s festival will also feature an all-star gospel tribute to Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Tramaine Hawkins.

In addition, the 2013 Essence Festival will feature over 50 top speakers, authors, innovators and leaders who’ll offer fans information on topics ranging from health, careers and education, to civil rights, relationships, style and beauty.  Among those participating: Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. John Lewis and Dr. Steve Perry.

For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit