NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in New Orleans as the 22nd annual Essence Fest is in full swing today.
The four-day festival brought over a half million people to New Orleans last year.
Tourism officials say hotels in the metro New Orleans area are above 90 percent occupancy.
People are flying in from all over the country this year.
Zulehka Mattis of Miami said he and a group of friends have been planning this trip since December of last year.
"I sent out a group text and said this is what we're going to do, and everyone replied so we're waiting for four more people to come," Mattis said.
Rita Temple of Miami said she prefers the outdoor events at Essence.
"I'm kind of old-school sometimes, not that old," she said. "But I do like the 90's hip-hop artist, or even before that, so I'm with it."
The festival kicked off yesterday and is predicted to have a $300 million economic impact on the city.
The doors at the Mercedes Benz Superdome open at 6 p.m. Some of this weekend's performers include Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey and, for the first time, Oprah Winfrey will attend.