NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Nearly a half million attendees converged upon New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend for the 2015 Essence Festival.
Organizers say Essence Fest reached a record number of fans over the holiday weekend as nearly the 500,000 attendees gathered in New Orleans. Tens of thousands joined New Orleans around the world via 100 hours of live stream programming.
A fun-filled weekend means full flights out of Armstrong International Airport. Monday was a busy day at MSY as thousands who flocked to New Orleans for Essence Fest hop on flights and head back home.
Attendees say they were very impressed overall with Essence Fest as well as with the Fourth of July festivities in the Crescent City.
Tourism leaders say several hundred thousand attendees made Essence Fest a huge success. Many came from out of town to see Usher, Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige as well as to attend empowerment seminars throughout the weekend.
"I loved it, I loved every minute of it," said Carol Allen, and attendee of 2015 Essence Fest. "It's always a great time to be down here. I love the heat, love the people and love the food - that's why I keep coming back.
Essence Fest is all about good music, good company and having a good time. But there's also a deeper meaning, incorporating African American history, empowerment and inspiration.
"I'm trying to get my granddaughter acclimated to the culture that we have here," attendee Carolyn Espadron said.
Vendor Cynthia Fearing says, "When I come here, it's not just to share my art, but I'm inspired by what I see and the people I meet."