It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. In the past 21 years, Aug. 2006 was the only year ESSENCE Fest was not held in The Big Easy because of all the damage and devastation the city still was recovering from.
This August will commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the storm. A few of our 2015 ESSENCE Fest performers lived through it and wanted to share their experiences. While it was a painful, the city is still strong and the people in it are even stronger.
New Orleans native and 2015 ESSENCE Fest performer, Teedra Moses shared her thoughts with us in our new exclusive.
Teedra Moses was pursuing her music career when the storm shattered the lives of the people in her hometown, but her closest loved ones were still there. "I left New Orleans prior to Katrina but my family and friends were there and they suffered. They were left in an extrmemly unbearable situation for a long time," she explained. "But baaaaby!!! They endured! Not the buildings and establishments, but the people," she added.
The survivors of Hurricane Katrina are examples of what it means to be a pillar of strength. For those who returned to the city after the storm, they rebuilt their lives with everything they had. For some, that was nothing at all, but with hope and the support of each other, they were able to revive the beloved New Orleans culture we see, today.
Teedra added, "New Orleans people are the spirit of the city and you can't steal the courage, resilience and joy of such strong spirits. I'm so proud of where I'm from!"
ESSENCE Fest fave Dee-1 also shared his views with us and for him, the experience transformd his personal perspectives on the journey of life. "Going through Katrina taught me that nothing can strip the joy of a person whose treasures are not on this earth," he said.
As if Iyanla herself gave him this advice, he also went on to add, "Adversity is a part of life, we just have to see the lesson in every situation we experience and become better because of it."
Similar to the city's tasty staple, New Orleans bred band Tank and the Bangas is known for mixing their music stylings with Jazz, Folk, R&B and a whole lot of drums. They took their view of what Katrina meant to them to the music, “You can find beauty in something like a disaster at the moment you are inspired to create something new with the left over pieces. For us music is what we made from those pieces."
One of the best parts of bringing ESSENCE Fest to New Orleans is the ability to bring revenue to the city and to lend a helping hand. This year, on July 2, 2015, ESSENCE and its' partners will have a Family Day of Service to support the community in their various needs. Also, our guests can support local vendors at ESSENCE Fest by visiting our ESSENCE Eats and ESSENCE Marketplace vendors to taste and feel the true spirit of New Orleans.
10 years later and we are still proud to return to New Orleans with every passing year.
Esteemed actor, Wendell Pierce also sat down with us to discuss the triumphant recovery of New Orleans and how #EssenceFest contributed to the city's rebuilding effort.
You don't want to miss any of the talent at ESSENCE Fest 2015. Single night tickets are available now!