New Orleans' Essence Festival coming soon, a flight away from Louisville

New Orleans' Essence Festival coming soon, a flight away from Louisville
Photo: iStock
By Hoodline - Published on June 11, 2019.

While New Orleans is known year-round as a melting pot of music, food and culture, the Crescent City raises the bar each Fourth of July weekend with the annual Essence Festival, the "party with a purpose."

Spread over a main stage and four "superlounges," the Essence Festival is the largest celebration of African American culture and music in the United States. Marking its 25th anniversary this year, the festival features a conversation with former first lady Michelle Obama, and headline music acts including Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Nas and Pharrell Williams.

Events are scattered across the city, so the Essence Festival also offers a chance to take in the sights and sounds of New Orleans. The festival runs July 4-7.

Fortunately, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive flights between Louisville and New Orleans on travel site Skyscanner.

Here’s a list of flights, hotels, restaurants and local attractions in New Orleans to round out your trip. (Prices and availability are current as of publication and subject to change.)

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Flight deals to New Orleans

The cheapest flights between Louisville and New Orleans are if you leave on July 5 and return from Louisiana on July 7. Delta currently has tickets for $573, roundtrip.

Top New Orleans hotels

Regarding where to stay, here are some of New Orleans’s top-rated hotels, that we selected from Skyscanner's listings based on price and customer satisfaction.

The Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, consider The Hotel Monteleone. The hotel has a 4.7-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $179.

The Hotel Monteleone stands in the French Quarter within four blocks of Jackson Square, the Canal Street Shops, Cafe du Monde and lively Bourbon Street. Dating from 1886, it was a favorite haunt of Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Truman Capote. Dining options include Le Cafe, serving buffet-style breakfasts and cooked-to-order selections.

The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave.)

If you're looking for an inexpensive place to stay, try The Columns Hotel, which has rooms for $100/night. It overlooks St. Charles Avenue, and you can watch the famous streetcar go by ⁠— or ride it to the French Quarter.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Convention Center (1201 Convention Center Blvd.)

A third option is The Hampton Inn & Suites Convention Center. The 4.6-star hotel has rooms for $99/night. It's just across from the Ernest Morial Convention Center, the site of many Essence Festival events.

Top picks for dining and drinking

Don't miss New Orleans' food scene, with plenty of popular spots to get your fill of local cuisine. Here are a few of the top-rated eateries from Skyscanner's listings.

Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Let's start with the essentials: where to get beignets. For a popular option, check out Cafe Du Monde, which has an average of 4.6 stars out of 407 reviews on Skyscanner. This 24/7 French cafe (only closed on Christmas and during hurricanes) serves its patrons a mean cup of dark-roasted chicory coffee. Complement your cup of Joe with one of its famous beignets, gratuitously topped with powdered sugar and occasionally filled with fruit.

"This place is open 24 hours but always super packed," wrote visitor Monica. "It is worth it, though. Also not super expensive."

Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking for a local favorite restaurant pick, head to Commander's Palace, with 4.8 stars from 93 reviews.

Reviewer Michel wrote that at the famous Garden District restaurant, "Jazz brunches are a tradition in the garden room overlooking the courtyard. [It's] the traditional place in New Orleans to celebrate a special occasion and the staff goes over the top to make you feel like a king or queen for the event. Cannot recommend this famous restaurant enough."

Jacques-Imo's Cafe (8324 Oak St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Also worth considering is Jacques-Imo's Cafe.

Located in uptown New Orleans on a section of Oak Street, Jacques-Imo's embraces and interprets the New Orleans funky psyche in a way that is fetching to both tourists and locals alike. The cafe is known for its eclectic mix of Creole and Cajun specialties at reasonable prices.

"One of the busiest and smallest cafes in town because the food is wonderful and plentiful," wrote Cindee. "This is a neighborhood restaurant that is warm and friendly. The shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake is my favorite. ... Those corn muffins are pretty darn good too!"

Lilette (3637 Magazine St.)

Finally, there's Lilette.

Born out of chef and owner John Harris' desire to create an intimate dining environment, Lilette enjoys both a loyal local following and a steady stream of visitors from around the country. Decades before Travel + Leisure magazine dubbed it "the sexiest dining room in New Orleans," the space began as an apothecary nestled in one of New Orleans' most verdant and vibrant neighborhoods. 

"Chef and owner John Harris’ dream restaurant ... features a menu that boasts such items as bone marrow toast, marinated anchovies, and ... Alaskan crab cakes," wrote Justin, adding that it also has one of the city’s best pastry programs, "churning out desserts that other restaurants try (but always fail) to copy."

Featured local attractions

New Orleans is also full of sites to visit and explore. Here are a couple of popular attractions to round out your trip, again from Skyscanner's listings.

The French Quarter (501 Basin St., New Orleans)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The French Quarter.

Known also as the Vieux Carré, the French Quarter is the heart of New Orleans as far as tourist attractions go. The iconic Bourbon and Royal streets run parallel here, offering a rambunctious nightlife on the former and unique boutiques on the latter. The waterfront features the New Orleans Aquarium, the legendary Cafe Du Monde and views of Algiers across the river. Countless restaurants and bars reside here, and finding jazz is as easy as catching multi-colored beads.

"The place for nightlife, social scene, and overall fun," wrote visitor Kay. "When in New Orleans, go to the French Quarter."

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (1427 Washington Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Lastly, consider checking out Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

It's an "interesting place to get a glimpse of the macabre side of New Orleans," wrote visitor Morgan. "It's free and there is no tour guide needed."

This story was created automatically using flight, hotel, and local attractions data, then reviewed by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.